My goodness; that was a lot of “P’s” in the title. Not as many as in “Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers,” but plenty to ponder.
“Enough already! What’s the deal with the personal pronoun?”
Glad you asked. For the last several days I’ve been meditating on the first three verses of Psalm 18. It has been a most enjoyable and fruitful time of examining not only what is said, but who said it—our old friend, King David. You remember him, the kid who liked to throw rocks at extra-large bullies? Of course you remember David. He wrote this Psalm the day after God delivered him from his enemies and King Saul. After running for his life for fourteen years David became the one and only king over Israel. Imagine, fourteen years of persecution from a king you loved, respected and wanted to serve. But he repaid your loyalty by trying to kill you with every resource at his disposal. Fourteen years. David had already been given the promotion, but it took that long for it to come to pass. Can you imagine the relief David felt?
This brings us to David and the personal pronoun “my.” Here is what David learned about God during those long, anxious years. Listen as he describes the Lord… “ MY God, MY strength, MY fortress, MY deliverer, MY shield, MY salvation and MY stronghold.”
It is one thing to accurately describe God’s characteristics or attributes. It is something completely different to have experienced these like David did. He ran, quite literally, for his life for almost a decade and a half. Yet, time after time, he escaped the clutches of a king obsessed with his destruction. At each step, David experienced the Lord with a new “MY.” Theoretical became experiential.
Now we are down to the marrow of the bone. God desires so much that we make that jump in our perception of Him from God to MY God, from a source of strength to MY strength, from a place of refuge to MY fortress, and so on. Don’t be deceived, there is a world of difference between proper identification of God and the personalization of Him. Listen to these and hear the difference, “A daughter…MY daughter. A son…MY son. A father…MY father.”
I hope by now you see that David experienced persecution above and beyond what most people ever have to endure. Yet, he came out of that horrific season with a basketful of the personal pronouns “MY.” Remember this one? “The Lord is MY shepherd.”
You and I have the same opportunity every time we experience difficulty, hardship, illness, grief, despair, financial problems, flat tires; you name it. We have an opportunity to move from “God” to “MY God.”
As an aside, this also gives us at least a partial answer to the question, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to people?” It could well be that He, in His infinite wisdom, wants you to experience Him in such a way that you will add another “MY” to your basket.
Examine your life. Are you in the midst of something that is more than you can handle? If not now, you will be. You and I have a choice during these trying times to say, “MY God is with me.” And after the storm of life passes by, we can say “MY God saw me through.”
I’ll just brush by one final item. It’s not just during the hard times that the Lord wants to move from God to “MY God.” He also wants to become “MY Joy,” “MY Celebration,” “MY Peace,” and many other “MY’s.”
Yes, there is incredible power in “MY.” Look for opportunities to use it and speak it out. It’s the least we can do for a God that looks at each of us and says, “That’s MY child.”