Reading: Psalm 31
Into your hands I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
It’s astonishing to think that Jesus uttered these words while he was on the cross, while he was about to die. You may not know this, but when you quote from a psalm like this in Jesus’ day, really you were bringing to mind the whole psalm for the hearers. So they would have known the next like about God redeeming, about God being faithful. How could this make any sense coming from the cross?
You know, so many of the psalms were written by David (this one included), and not a small number of those were penned by him in the wilderness while he was on the run from Saul. He was a fugitive, branded a renegade, and avoided by people for fear of reprisal (see 1 Samuel 22:17). And yet, most of the psalms which cry out to God for protection and for justice also resolve with praises for God’s faithfulness. Even in the midst of hardship and with the not-yet-realized promise of the throne, David entrusts himself to his God.
This is one of the great challenges of the believer: to maintain hope in God when circumstances are dark. It’s much easier to give in to despair, or even to think that if it’s going to get done we have to take things into our own hands. It’s like rejecting God because he’s rejected us. At least that’s how we see it.
But the only one who was truly rejected by God was Jesus himself. And yet, Jesus knew his rejection was for our sake. He knew that God was good, that he would be raised on the third day, justified in his perfect obedience, the offering of atonement accepted. Jesus knew that even in his abandonment, ultimate hope could be found in his heavenly Father.
His hope becomes our hope when we hope in him. Our imperfect trust is perfected on the cross when we trust in him. Our weakness is turned to strength in the resurrection power joined with our spirit, which teaches us to cry “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:14-15). And this hope is born of faith (however small) in the one who endured the ultimate darkness for our sake.
This is what it means to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. Oh, but how I feel the pull toward keeping it back. How I feel the urge of fear to think that giving it all to you would mean more hardship and suffering. Forgive me that I don’t trust you like I should. Forgive me that I am holding back. I believe you are good, but I’m afraid. I believe; help my unbelief. Teach me the joy and peace of trusting in you.