In stressful times, you may experience a bitter sort of deja vu – a new relationship triggering old fears, a bad day bringing the return of a bad habit, or loneliness making a past sin tempting again. You find yourself back in the fight with an enemy you thought you’d conquered.  Like an old sports injury flaring up, it reminds you that you aren’t as strong and whole as you thought.

God is not surprised in these moments.  “There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love for me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me,” wrote J.I. Packer.  Indeed, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust,” (Psalm 103:13,14, NIV).

That word “formed” means “a form, framing, purpose, intent” – we are formed from dust, for a higher purpose.  We can pray with the Psalmist, “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me. O Lord, Your loving devotion endures forever – do not abandon the works of Your hands,” (Psalm 138:8, BSB).  He knows our weakness, and patiently stays with us until we are healed.

Today if you find yourself battling an old enemy again, know that this is a temporary setback on the road to victory. For all who are in Christ, the Lord promises that the patterns of your past will not echo forever into your future. He will complete His transformational work in you (Philippians 1:6). You will be strong, healed, and whole.