November 16, 2012

In Search of Comfort

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.
—Psalm 1:1


According to the Bible, God wants to keep us richly sustained even in the harshest conditions, like trees planted by streams of water.

So what does it take to be sustained by God like those trees? To begin with, Psalm 1 explains that there are plenty of things that won’t sustain us. The psalmist refers to these as the ways of the wicked, the sinners, and the mockers.

Sometimes we are tempted to turn to sinful alternatives to sustain us. Giving in to our closet temptations or addictions is obviously wrong. But other times our alternative sources aren’t necessarily wrong, they’re just insufficient. It may be good to pour yourself into your career or your education or even the health of your family, but none of those things are sufficient to sustain you during times of drought. You’ll still find yourself parched.

Try this test: think back to a recent hard day in your life and how you responded to the stress. Could an atheist have used the same coping strategies as you did? If so, it probably wasn’t your faith connection with God that sustained you through that day. On the other hand, if the comforts you turned to all eventually traced back to the God whom you knew had given them to you, then your faith relationship with God was probably a big part of how you dealt with that difficult day.

Heavenly Father, during times of hardship, sustain us with your living waters. Help us to trust fully in you. Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at

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