There is a verse found in Psalm 121:7 that can be cause for confusion. It tells us, “The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.” Upon reading this we can immediately bring to our memory all sorts of life situations that indeed brought us harm. Some have been hurt by the death of a loved one. Others struggle with physical or emotional illness. Perhaps you’ve experienced the pain of divorce, the betrayal of a trusted friend, failure to be respected in your job, worry over your wayward children, financial difficulty. The list of painful experiences that comes to us is long. Why, therefore, does God tell us that He will keep us from all harm, when all of us have felt pain and sorrow?
The answer is in right perspective. Since we live in a physical world where our experiences are either seen, smelled, heard, or felt, be it emotional or physical; then often, we read Scripture with an interpretation from the physical point of view. In reality, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to interpret for us from the spiritual point of view. The Holy Spirit is our teacher who guides us into all truth.
So, what is the truth of Psalm 121:7 that categorically says God will keep us from all harm? It means something far greater than a physical protection; it means a spiritual preservation. It’s like strawberry preserves. Strawberries left in the open air will rot quickly. However, when boiled with sugar, vinegar, a pinch of salt, then put in sealed jars, it can last a very long time. It maintains its tastiness. It’s the same in our spiritual world. It means that no matter the rot of sorrow, pain, and unfairness the world can throw at us, by the Holy Spirit within, we have the treasures of God’s preservation. Our joy, inner peace, courage and strength remain intact. Those key ingredients to our spiritual well being keeps us from the harm of our arch enemy, Satan, who “seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.” (John 10:10)
While our enemy does everything he can to steal our joy, kill our peace, and destroy all hope of anything good happening to us, our Heavenly Father is there to be our everything to get us through anything. How do you and I acquire such preservation of constant joy and inner peace? It’s all to do with how we think and upon what we let our thoughts dwell. I love the verse in Philippians 4:8, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about these things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Upon what we choose to focus is key to understanding how, “The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.” He keeps us spiritually intact — just like strawberry preserves.