In The Presence of My Enemies

ImageA few years ago I read a book with this title which recounts the experiences of US missionary couple Gracia and Martin Burnham who were captured by the Muslim terrorist group Abbu Sayyaf.  In the midst of exhaustion, hunger and hopelessness, the Burnhams continued to cling to their faith in God.  They firmly believed in God’s saving grace.

They believed that God, without failure, continues to take care of them and provide for them. It may not be in any material thing that could have helped sustain their bodies during the ordeal, but God’s word continued to bring sustenance to their souls.

Martin perished when the government launched a rescue operation for them but Gracia lived on to tell their stories.

My daily life is not without its challenges. Every time I leave my house I am faced with many mountains to climb and shadows of the valley of death to overcome.  Temptations and trials.  There have been instances when I have fallen on temptations and I cry for God’s forgiveness.  There are times when trials are unbearable and I seek God’s hand.

Earlier today I was asking myself why my life couldn’t be any easier – which could be possible if I don’t have to deal with certain issues or circumstances or even people.  Yeah, even people.  People who have ulterior motives, or people whom you have to be very careful with, people who will do everything in their power to bring you down.

The worse part of it is that they act as if they’re on your side.

Tonight, as I recite the 23rd Psalm I am reminded of this line:

        “You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies.” (verse 5; NIV).

The psalmist knew that his enemies will continue to be there and the struggles will linger. But, God, being a God of justice, will not falter in taking good care of him – not only meeting his needs but provides for him bountifully.

The best part of it is that God does all of that while his enemies are watching.

God’s provisions are satisfying. God’s table is special. While my enemies relentlessly pursue my destruction, God’s “beauty and love chase after me each day of my life.” (v 6a; The Message Bible).

So from hereon, I will always remind myself that I am a welcomed guest at God’s banquet and those who have ill will towards me will continue to live a life of misery.

Unless, of course, they opt to be a part of the table as there is always room for more.


Originally published on October 23, 2011, San Diego, CA at


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