“If the Lord had not been for us”…Psalm 124

Yesterday, as I pondered by these words, my mind retraced the many times God has literally saved my life. A home break-in. A mountain climbing slip. Running blind in the dark. A high-speed car accident. If the Lord had not been for me…wow.

I thought of the many other ways God has saved (the Greek word sozo often translated in Enlish as “saved” means wholeness; healing) me from my own brokenness. The wounds of this life, at hands of others or of my own making, have marked me in profound ways. My healing comes, however, in daily, surprising, incremental, and mostly imperceivable ways as I offer those unfinished parts of my soul to God who alone can make whole again. Then one morning I wake up and realize I am no longer angry…or mad…or sad…or bitter. There has been a gift of grace at work beneath the surface of my life. If the Lord had not been for me…

If we look to other things to find the help we need, we end up running ourselves ragged, empty and exhausted still finding ourselves swallowed up and swept away.

Often, however, it is those things in life that threaten to overtake us is where we find it most difficult to receive the unexpected healing and redemption that is offered. Cancer, loss, grief…in our struggle through pain we can come to narrowly define what healing should look like (such as physical…which, however, is not small thing). Expecting, hoping and intensely focused on God to come to us in a certain way, we may miss all the other ways God wants to heal us as well. Unintentionally we can miss experiencing the fullness of the abundant life because we are looking for something else.

The common thread of grace through my life (and I suspect yours) is that it is in the help we experience, not so much the hazards we face, that ultimately shapes and heals us. Once we come to recognize over and over again, “If the Lord had not been for us…” we can live life as grateful recipients of grace however it is offered.

If God hadn’t been for us

—all together now, Israel, sing out!—

If God hadn’t been for us

when everyone went against us,

We would have been swallowed alive

by their violent anger,

Swept away by the flood of rage,

drowned in the torrent;

We would have lost our lives

in the wild, raging water.

Oh, blessed be God!

He didn’t go off and leave us.

He didn’t abandon us defenseless…Psalm 124:1-6

By: Gail Johnsen


Gail is a graduate of Northwest University (B.A. Biblical Lit.), an ordained Assemblies of God minister, pastor, mother of four (and now grandmother!), author, certified life coach, popular speaker, and founder of Keeping Company With Jesus, an online spiritual formation tool that, in practical and engaging ways, helps us keep our lives centered on Jesus and develop authentic faith. Holding a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Formation and Leadership from Spring Arbor University, Gail is also currently a doctoral candidate (DMin) at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (graduation May, 2018). Her desire is to encourage others no matter where they are in their faith journey to recover their life and to know there is more of God than what they have already experienced.




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