Suffering, grief, troubles, and pain are all part of the human experience. No one is exempt. So if we know this will happen in our life…why does it sometimes take a while to give these burdens to the Lord rather than shouldering them alone? The Psalmist here is crying out to the Lord for protection and deliverance…realizing, that only God can help him. The time to give our troubles to the Lord is long before we’ve come to the end of ourselves…when desperation, hopelessness, and despair have taken over our life. If you’re in this place today, I pray Psalm 20:1-5 over you now, “May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May He send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. May He remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.” Amen.
It’s part of life here on earth…trials, illness, and loss are inevitable. Jeremiah 8:15 sums it up very well how we can feel at these times, ” We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there was only terror.” In these fearful, confusing times we long for the light at the end of the tunnel…but all we see is darkness. “He has blocked my way so I cannot pass…” In this verse, the Hebrew word for blocked is gadar – which means to build or heap up stones to make a wall. We sometimes do feel walled in or blocked off… but know God may be also protecting you from unseen evil you know nothing about. In those dark times, we need to put all our trust in the Lord and wait for the storm to pass.
If you’ve lost a spouse or gone through a divorce…you know exactly how it feels. The loneliness and isolation are only compounded by the awkwardness of well-meaning friends. Add to that the strict view of some Churches on divorce…you may have even been asked to leave your Church family all together. So you try to cope with your loss as best as you can…struggling with fear and depression and feelings of self-defeat and failure. But Isaiah is telling you here that your Creator, God Almighty, is your husband (or spouse). He is your Kinsman-Redeemer with a covenantal tie of love and loyalty only to you. With God as your husband, there’s no room anymore for those negative emotions of loss, shame, or rejection to fill your mind. Yes, you may not be married in the legal sense…but you are espoused by a loving and faithful God.
Unfortunately, when we become Believers, God doesn’t wrap us up in cotton batting and place us carefully in a box for safe keeping. No, we’re subject to every evil and despicable thing the world can throw at us. But in the midst of all the pain, suffering, anguish and grief, we as Believers have one thing the rest of the world doesn’t… when we cry out to the Lord…He hears us. This verse says that He hears my voice…He knows and recognizes my voice above the din of the whole universe. But God doesn’t stop there…He acts when He hears our cry to Him…for when we summon the Lord, He will come to our aid.
I’ve seen this first hand with my elderly parents the past year. Almost weekly, a close friend, neighbor or acquaintance dies…usually from old age, but that still doesn’t lessen the blow of their passing. Even though death and dying is a part of life, we still mourn and experience sadness in our loss. The Psalmist here is lamenting to God that his friends, parents, or maybe children are gone…leaving him in a very dark place in his life. We all at sometime in our lives will feel just like this Psalmist…grappling with the loneliness and sorrow of losing loved ones. And that’s OK. Giving ourselves permission to grieve is a healthy and vital part of the grieving process. It’s OK also to feel lonely. That person we’ve known so well has left, and what remains is a void…a gapping hole in our heart of palatable sadness. It’s at that time that cherished memories help to bridge the chasm of grief. Sharing those memories with others is also a way of slowly moving out of that dark place into the light. For God knows exactly how you feel…He understands your pain…you may feel lonely, but with Him, you’ll never be alone.