I recently wrestled with a passage of scripture that involves details of my life that I never thought would be true. Psalm 128 paints a picture of a blessed mature family. One who has a healthy fear of the Lord, enjoys the labor of their hands, sees goodness in their marriage, trusts their adult children to come back to sit at the table, and even has a long life to see their grandchildren.
It is in Psalm 128 where it compares adult children to an olive branch – this is where my wrestle lies. I wrestle with the truth that there are many hard things in my children’s lives they did not choose for themselves and my heart breaks for them. But it is also the part where their choices look so different than my deepest desire for them. I cannot imagine going through a single day, let alone the hard details of life, without faith that God is walking with me through it all. I know choosing to walk with Him is their choice and I know their story isn’t finished. Yet, I also know for me, it is at times difficult to see the big picture of hope and healing when I am focused on the hard in front of me.
The truth of their story and mine made the picture painted in Psalm 128 feel unachievable. I had limited vision, which gave me limited hope. However, I trusted God deeply and I felt His leading. I heard Him prompt me to wrestle with this picture. I am so glad He did.
Psalm 128 is a Psalm of assent, which is one of 15 Psalms the Hebrew people would have usually sung as they traveled to Jerusalem for one of the three main Jewish festivals. They would have used these songs to prepare their hearts for the celebration to come. They were songs of worship. Personally, worship is so important in my everyday life so this became very interesting to me!
The picture of the olive branch around the table represented adult children. The olive tree is not essential for life but can bring so much goodness and joy to it. The olive branch is a symbol of abundant life. The olive tree may not bear fruit for a really long time. One source stated that the average length of time for it to bear fruit was 40 years. Personally, My children are in their twenties. I found hope in this detail and spent a long while researching more about the olive tree!
These truths were good for me to discover but I was still wrestling with it all. Why would the Lord bring me here? Then I found the truth the Lord wanted me to see.
The psalmist wrote this as his DESIRED BLESSING! This is his heart’s desire. This picture of a happy home is not a praise of what he has already achieved, but a prayer of trust in the Lord with his heart’s desire as he prepares for worship, celebration, and community. Personally, this is one of my deepest desires in life and this discovery brought me to repentance, but also it brought me to deeper hope, all at the same time!
It is my heart’s desire for all of these details to be true in my family! I now trust the Lord more deeply with these desires. Understanding the author’s heart and intention in writing these words, helps me understand mine. It is my heart’s prayer, that if needed, it will help you find yours as well!
My wrestling with the Lord through Psalm 128 has changed me. I am not the same on this side of the wrestle. So much so, that I recently got a tattoo of an olive branch with the reference Psalm 128 on it. It is a visual to me that my desire for my family is good and that I can trust Him with this desire. It is also a constant reminder to pray this desire over my family, always!
What passage or promise are you wrestling with right now? Where is the wrestling taking you that confuses you because you don’t see the whole picture, yet? I want to encourage you to stay in the wrestle. Don’t shy away from wondering, do the work to understand. As you wait for it all to come together, trust that God is walking with you through the wrestling.