Psalm 84: Whose Strength Is in You

A friend of mine made a banner for me for my hospital room with Psalm 84:5-7 on it.

Banner of Psalm 84 in hospital room

I’m on day 20 of my first round of chemotherapy for acute leukemia, in case you don’t already know that. I’ve been blogging about it at Thrilled to Death.

There’s some hardship involved in my chemotherapy, but it’s not nearly as hard as I expected. I’ve found out, though, that the marrow or stem cell transplant that’s coming will probably be worse and will last much longer—at least 6 months, and one man I talked to today had 18 months that he called bearable but extremely difficult.

So how do I face this?

Strength in God

How blessed is the man whose strength is in you.

The greatest opponent I’ve faced is my own strength, my own attempts to have a positive attitude and to expect the best. My faith is easily shaken. On a bad day, my mood can easily swing, and I question people’s motives and judge their behavior.

God’s strength, however, is never shaken. The one who delights in the Lord is consistently supplied with grace, which Psalm 1 pictures as a tree planted by a flowing river which never runs dry.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee. (Isaiah 26:3)"

If I’ve learned anything in the last five weeks—yeah, it’s only been five weeks since I was diagnosed!—it’s that I have to live right now. God has grace for right now, not grace for next week, six months from now, or next year.

The rest of that passage in Psalm 84 provides two awesome promises:

From Weeping to Springs of Life

Passing through the valleys of Baca, they make it a spring.

Baca is Hebrew for "weeping."

What an awesome picture! For those whose strength is in God, their weeping produces springs that feed those behind them.

You can probably draw your own analogies from that picture.

From Strength to Strength

They go from strength to strength. Every one of them appears before God in Zion.

If I’ve learned anything else over the last five weeks, it’s that strength is not continuous. Yesterday’s grace is not sufficient for today. I’m sure there’s really awesome Christians somewhere who never wander from the presence of God and pray without ceasing.

I’m not one of them.

But I do know what it’s like to go from strength to strength. I do know that the sea of grace is inexhaustible and can be tapped anew each day. I do know that the mercies of God are new every morning, and I know what it’s like to appear before God in Zion, though that last one is a story for a different day.

To sum up, let me encourage you that today is the day to let your strength be in Jesus Christ, to keep your mind stayed on him, and to know that yesterday’s grace won’t carry you today, and that there is no grace for tomorrow until tomorrow.

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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4 Responses to Psalm 84: Whose Strength Is in You

  1. Paul, I will add ‘Ditto’ for Amy’s and Dylanna’s responses. Thank you so much for sharing this journey with us…can’t really tell you how much good it has done for me…especially, in helping me to say “Whatever, God” re our two JJs situation. Simply put, thank you from my heart? …Aunt Flo

  2. Faith says:

    I want to hear “the story for another day” about how you appeared before God in Zion.

  3. Dylanna says:

    Thank you so much for being such a great teacher! Even in the hospital 😉 I only hope I can learn from you, how to continuously seek God everyday and learn how to go from strength to strength. Love you lots!

  4. Amy Wiggins says:

    Thank you so much for this ! I so needed to hear this today … I may need to read it daily ! You have been and continue to be an encouragement my brother. I praise Him for all that He is doing in and through you. It is beautiful.

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