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.
Romans 11:29 ” For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.”
As Believers, we all go through times that we wonder if we’re hearing God correctly. Maybe it’s times when He seems far away…or we feel we’re in a dry place in our walk with Him. That’s when this verse and Romans 8:28 needs to be before us. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” The Lord uses our gifts, talents, and passions throughout our Christian life to bring edification to others…and just because we don’t “feel it” doesn’t mean we’re still not being used of Him. We’ll all go through seasons of our life when our gift mix may wax and wane…certain ones coming to the forefront, while others seemingly retreat…but our gifts will always remain the same. The writer of Hebrews quoted Psalm 110:4 when he said, “The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind.” For He is the God of the past, present and future…and He will not recall what He has already given, and His ultimate plan and purpose for our life will prevail.
Psalm 51:10 ” Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
I listened to a song the other day…its title a declaration that a lot of us might not say with any conviction…”I am ready for the Storm.” Now I realize that it’s not if but when trials will come into my life…but to proclaim that I’m ready for them gives me pause. So how can I prepare? The Psalmist here shows us that it’s the daily renewing of our heart and mind that will enable us to do this. Our faith is renewed and given new life daily…ever-deepening, ever-increasing, as we put more and more of our trust in the Lord. This divine restoration is spoken of in Isaiah 40:31, ” But those who put their hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” So I may not like it, but I can now say with certainty… Yes Lord, with Your help, I’m ready for the storm.
Psalm 131:1-3 ” My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, both now and forever more.”
Have troubles gone beyond the bounds of your human strength…put your hope in the Lord. Have all your expectations, desires, and dreams crumbled before your eyes…put your hope in the Lord. Are you in the middle of an impossible situation with no seemingly way out…put your hope in the Lord. For God can perform wonders that cannot be fathomed and miracles that cannot be counted. (Job 5:9) He is the God of the unattainable, the unsolvable, and the hopeless…for He is the God of the impossible, and nothing is too hard for Him. (Genesis 18:14)
Lamentations 3:31-32 ” For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love.”
None of us is immune to grief, suffering, and troubles…for they are just part of this journey we call life. But it’s good to reflect on the attributes of the Lord spoken of in this Scripture today. God’s love for us is everlasting and unconditional…for there is nothing in and of ourselves we can do to obtain this love…it is a free gift given by grace not our works. But also there is nothing so terrible we can ever do that this love can’t reach us. Mercy and kindness are central to God’s character, and it’s out of this great love for us that we can find forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
Psalm 105:2 ” Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts.”
Everyday we should be celebrating the many blessings from God…for He does things far beyond the bounds of what we think, expect, or can even imagine. Genesis 18:14 goes further to ask, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” But I heard an interesting sermon the other day challenging the idea of just what a blessing was. Do we thank God only for the good things we have, and that happen to us. Or do we praise Him also for all the difficult, uncomfortable, and bad things that come into our lives? How do we know that something meant for bad can’t suddenly be turned around by God for good? For what we see as affliction, can become the way to deeper holiness and sanctification in our life…or what appears to be a difficult situation may turn out to be a godsend in the end. This gives new meaning then to the song “Count your many Blessings”…for we need to praise God for everything that comes into our lives…the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Psalm 34:8 ” Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
There are certain things that someone can attempt to describe to us, but until we can experience it for ourselves, we just don’t get it. Take instance, the first time you saw the ocean and that vast expanse of churning water…no amount of prior description someone gave you could even come close to you seeing it with your own eyes. The same thing happens with Jesus. We may hear about Him all our lives…but it’s not until we take that personal step of faith and experience Him, that we can then know true joy, peace and hope in our lives.
II Kings 20:5 ” Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of My people, This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the Temple of the Lord.”
King Hezekiah became ill to the point of death when Isaiah went and said to him, “Put your house in order, you’re going to die.” But it then says that Hezekiah prayed and wept before the Lord and the Lord relented. The human mind would look at this as God yielding, changing His mind, or just being fickle. But to God, relenting is grounded in compassion not whimsy. Psalm 106:45 says, “…and out of His great love He relented.” Though it may appear to us that God was changing His plan… according to His divine perspective…nothing changed.
Psalm 142:1-2 ” I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before Him; before Him I tell my trouble.”
There’s been many times in my life when I’ve bared my soul to the Lord and complained loudly! I’ve spilled out my frustrations as well as my tears before Him…knowing He would be the only one that could fully understand my distress. And God does. There is nothing you’re going through today that has caught God by surprise…nothing He doesn’t already know about. The old Hymn, “What a Friend we have in Jesus” is so true…for when there’s no one else you feel you can confide in…Jesus is always there.
Matthew 8:3 ” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ He said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.”
When we come to Jesus, He says to us, “Be clean!” And at that moment we are purified from all the pollution, guilt, and shame of our sins. For it says in Psalm 51:2, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” Where we once were covered with the filthy stains of sin, we are now cleansed…our nastiness replaced by pristine purity and righteousness through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. For it is only through the blood of Jesus that we can become cleansed from all our transgressions…it is only through Jesus we can be saved.