No harm befalls the righteous, but the wicked are filled with trouble. Proverbs 12:21 (NASB)
From the Hebrew Lexicon: No trouble, sorrow, wickedness, will have opportunity, to meet or encounter opportunely, with the just, righteous, but to the wicked, criminal, to be full, to fill, evil, distress, misery injury, calamity.
At face value, when I read the words “no harm” I immediately think of how many things both good and bad that people endure in life. Being a child of God does not mean I am exempt from misfortune, yet by aligning my heart and behavior with the kingdom I will not suffer the ultimate consequences of doing evil or bad things. Behavior produces results. Good behavior produces good results.
There is something profoundly concrete about the Lord’s protection over his people. He cradles us in safety and security. There is no ambiguity or wavering in my Father’s support and protection of me. If he gave his son, what else would I need that He wouldn’t give me? Yet, I must navigate his intent of peace with the evidence presented by a fallen world (and my fallen behavior at times). Last night, a good friend who loved God and believed for healing lost a brutal fight with cancer. Did harm befall her? In the natural it looks like it. But my standing on the unshakable foundation of his goodness does not change the reality of sin still wreaking havoc on earth. Jesus was sleeping in a boat rocked by a storm which was threatening his disciples. At their panic He woke up and calmed the sea, then asked why his disciples doubted. He has authority, but doesn’t always make the bully go away. We will confront the threat of harm. But I may be convinced of His goodness toward me despite it.
Let me put it a different way. The promise of safety comes from a relationship. God makes that promise to me. Do I believe it? Do I trust him? Even when evidence seems contrary? It was man that walked away from trust in the garden. So when God promises safety, although I understand He’s fully capable of changing physical circumstances, he doesn’t always (for reasons we don’t understand) — yet in my trouble there is a unique opportunity to regain what was lost in the beginning. Whether I am delivered from physical trial or not, he has guaranteed life. Eternal life. Ultimate good. Period. I don’t for a moment believe God relishes our suffering in the least. He sent the remedy for it! Yet, at the risk of oversimplifying what is happening to me, there are forces at work, timing that is not yet, that the people of God must endure, while trusting, until the change comes. And it will come.
For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked… till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Psalm 73:3, 17 NIV
Clarity comes as I spend time in his sanctuary, his presence. My need for safety is such an essential thing and today I have all that is needed to have peace of mind and absolute assurance of His goodness. The peace of God, the counsel of peace, the Prince of Peace speak to my distress. Nothing can harm my person — despite the tribulation in this world. Although sin threatens me, there are consequences I will not encounter. Judgments against me which are not allowed to frighten.
No harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. Psalm 91:10 NIV
The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:7-8 NIV
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33 NIV
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. John 10:28-29 NIV