My first response to this psalm is, “Yeah, right.”
It implies that if you trust in God, you’ll get special privileges. Everyone else can get flu shots, but you don’t need them, because you believe. Faith will protect you from viruses.
Our experience tells us that this isn’t the case. God-fearing, even “Bible-believing,” folk still get sick and die young. Just ask Job.
Surely the Hebrew writer knew this. So why does he make such a statement that seems to fly in the face of experience?
Maybe he says this to encourage us to move forward, in whatever circumstance, with a sense of expecting that God WILL be such a protector. Moving ahead with such anticipation, regardless of fear, disappointment, and past experiences, is “hard hope.”
If you’ve committed to seeking God with honesty and humility, you’ve already grounded yourself in the mysterious side of life. Life as mystery teaches you that the scene you’re experiencing is just part of a larger play in an immense theater. So, you hope hard, believing that the next act will resolve your pain.
You don’t know if it will. You may be disappointed. But that disappointment won’t be devastating. That’s because for you, life has a depth beyond just one scene. The Playwrite, in the end, creates settings and invites actors tailored to your plot. Your story will NOT ultimately end in tragedy.
Hoping hard is the privilege of all those who seek the Mystery. Or, as Jesus describes them, people who “desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33)
Who knows what will happen as you do?