Read Psalm 27.
I have a complicated relationship with safety devices. I am thankful we have a gate on our stairs that keeps my youngest from falling, but I can’t count the number of times one of our other kids has gotten his fingers pinched by the same gate.
Keeping our oldest in a rear-facing car seat until he was two was the law, but he was such a large baby that his knees were only an inch or two from his face toward the end. He would cry whenever we had to put him in there.
We have plastic covers on our stove knobs to keep the little guys from turning on the gas—but do you know what they can’t get enough of? Those plastic covers—they make a click sound when you open or close them, and they spin in place. So, my youngest always want to be by the stove.
As I said, my relationship with safety devices is complicated. I’m not exactly going to start cutting the seat belts out of our cars, but it seems there’s always a trade-off when we attempt to make something safer. There is never a trade-off when it comes to our ultimate safety, though. God is impenetrable; there is no weakness in Him.
In Psalm 27, David has placed all his trust in the Lord. God is his light, keeping him from stumbling. He is his stronghold, protecting him from his enemies (v. 1). But unlike what he does in some of his other psalms, David does not plead with God for protection. He’s not begging Him for help. He believes he already has it: “I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (v. 13). In other words, David expects God to be with him in this life—to guide him and protect him from his troubles. He is not thinking of eternity in God’s presence, where of course there will be security. He’s thinking flesh-and-blood help, right here and right now.
Of course, following the Lord does not guarantee us physical or emotional security in this life. We follow a Savior who was beaten bloody and crucified, and told us to pick up our own crosses and get in line behind Him (Matthew 16:24). God does watch over His people, but sometimes He allows tragedies in to the lives of the faithful. The early church knew this. The apostle Paul was willing to pour out his life for the Lord, if it meant the spread of the gospel (Acts 21:13; Philippians 2:17). And he wasn’t alone.
Perhaps David had some assurance from the Holy Spirit, so that he could say he knew—absolutely knew—God would see him through his present circumstances in this life. But the refuge God offers is bigger than this life. Someday, David will be resurrected, as will everyone whose faith rests in Christ. He will see, “in the land of the living,” a land more alive than anything we’ve ever experienced, the goodness of God in the face of Jesus.
On that day, I wonder if David will even remember who his enemies were back when he penned Psalm 27 as he basks in the light of God’s promises fulfilled. Those enemies won’t matter. What will matter is that God will have answered the greatest longing of David’s heart: “One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).
When we come to the place that our hearts truly long for God above all else, there really is nothing anyone in this world can do to us. “To live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). There is no trade-off—not in this life or the next. We get Jesus, and that’s everything.