Tag Archive | hard times

Psalm 88

God saves me, rescues.  Day and night I cry out before You, continually praying and pleading.  Hear me!

My soul is full of trouble – sin, doubt, worry, anger.  I am close to death – physical and spiritual.  I have no strength left.  I am considered as dead – beyond hope. 

You are so angry with me that You have put me into the lowest pit – I am overwhelmed.  You have removed me from fellowship – my closest friends find me repulsive.  I’m trapped and can’t get out. 

I call to You every day.  Do You show Your wonders to one as dead as I am?  Can I rise up and praise You?  Does Your love and faithfulness reach to one trapped in hell? 

But I still cry – I still pray in the morning.  Why aren’t You listening?  Why do You reject me?  Why do You hide Your face from me?

From my youth, I have been afflicted and close to death. I have suffered terrors, despair, wrath.  Your anger has flooded me.  You have taken my companions and loved ones.  The darkness is my closest friend. 

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Psalm 77

Cry out to God for help.
Cry out to God to hear.
In distress? Seek the lord. At night, stretch out your hands untiringly. Perhaps your soul refuses to be comforted – keep crying out.

Remember God. Groan. Muse. Your spirit may grow faint.
Your eyes may not close. You may be too troubled to speak.
Thinking about how things used to be?
Remember how you used to sing songs of praise, love, and adoration in the night?

Doubt creeps in. Impatience.
Will the Lord reject forever?
Will He never show His favor again?
Has His unfailing love vanished forever?
Has His promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Is He angry and has He withheld His compassion?

Now is the time to appeal. At the lowest point.
Remember the deeds of the Lord and His miracles in your life.
Meditate on God’s works – consider each one.
Spend as much time and effort thinking about the good as doubting and questioning.

God is holy and great.
God performs miracles.
God displays His power among the peoples.
God redeems us.
Creation submits to and reflects God.
God leads like a shepherd leading a flock.

Psalm 71

Take refuge in God.  Cuddle up in Him.

Rescue and deliver.

Listen to me, save me.

God is a rock of refuge I can always go to.

God delivers from wicked, evil and cruel men.

God is my hope and confidence from youth to old age.

I will always have hope – I will praise You more each day.

Even though God has made me see troubles, He will restore me.

I will praise with the harp

                Sing praise with the lyre

                Shout for joy

                Sing praise to You

                Tell of your righteous acts all day long.

Psalm 69

Save me O God.

The waters have come up to my neck – waters of fear

                                                                                Waters of doubt

                                                                                Waters of work

                                                                                Waters of tiredness

I sink – no foothold – deep waters – floods – worn out – calling – parched throat – tired eyes – looking everywhere for God.

People hate me without reason – many enemies – I’ve made restoration for what I didn’t have to just to keep them quiet.

God knows my sin.  Don’t let my imperfection be a hindrance to others.

I am ridiculed because I follow you.  My own family distances themselves from me.  Everyone makes fun of my beliefs, my commitment.

But I pray to God – God favors, God loves, God answers with sure salvation.  He rescues me, unsinks me, delivers me, floats me, answers me out of goodness, comes near, redeems me.

No one comes to my aid – in fact, they make the suffering worse.  But they’ll get theirs – the tables will turn on them. 

Praise is better than sacrifice.  Seek God and live!

Psalm 68

When God arises, enemies are scattered like smoke in the wind.  When thoughts of God overtake your mind, negative thoughts and emotions dissipate, melt like wax.  Gladness, happiness and joy replace all those negatives. 

That joy leads to singing and praise. 

God is Father to the fatherless 

             Defender of widows

             Gives families to the lonely

             Leads prisoners in singing

             Goes out before His people even through wastelands where He sends rain for his people.

             Provides for the poor with bounty. 

 God is victorious – He has the best equipment, is as strong as a mountain, has the most equipment and warriors.

God daily bears our burdens.

God saves.

 

Affliction and Suffering

“For all things are for your sakes, that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. II Corinthians 4:15
Everything the apostles were going through (afflicted, crushed, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, constantly being delivered over to death (verses 8-12)) was for the sake of believers. Everything we go through is for the sake of other believers. Because of what the apostles were going through, more and more people were experiencing grace-saving faith in Jesus Christ. As people watch what we go through and how we overcome (not crushed, not despairing, not forsaken, not destroyed) the life of Jesus manifested in our body and life in others (verses 8-12), our testimony encourages others to come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. A ripple effect brings more and more. We should celebrate every soul that is saved and we should especially give thanks to God for them. Our salvation thanksgiving causes the glory of God to abound. This is why the apostles were not discouraged (verse 16). They saw their afflictions as testimonies leading to more grace, leading to saved souls, leading to more thanksgiving, leading to more glory. Though outwardly they were wearing out, inwardly they were renewed (verse 16). They saw their suffering as light and temporary (verse 17). They didn’t look at the temporary but the eternal (verse 18).
“For we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.” II Corinthians 4:16
Therefore – look at what came before. All suffering is for the sake of others – that they may see God’s grace at work in us and that God’s grace may begin to work in them, encouraging and leading to salvation. Suffering leads to thanksgiving which leads to more glory for God. Because of the grace, thanksgiving and glory (that’s a 3 to 1 ratio to suffering by the way) we do not lose heart. The grace of God, our thanksgiving and God’s glory renew our inner selves. It’s a daily process. Daily we must see our sufferings as helpful to others. Daily we must see our sufferings in the light of God’s grace. Daily we must sacrifice thanksgiving. Daily we must see God’s glory. Daily we must look past the outer man decay and see the inner self renewed and closer to God and His glory.
“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. (NASB) Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine.” (GWT) II Corinthians 4:17
Notice the structure here. Paul doesn’t say affliction is momentary and light – he uses momentary and light as adjectives to describe affliction. It has more impact that way and I think it can’t be disputed. Affliction/suffering, no matter what it is, no matter how long it lasts according to human timekeeping is momentary/temporary when compared to the length of eternity. Affliction/suffering, no matter what it is, no matter how heavy it feels right now, is light compared to the weight of glory we’ll have in heaven. Thinks it’s hard to stand up under the pain we feel now? Just try to stand up under the glory we’ll have in heaven! Of course, heavenly bodies are probably built for glory! Glory far beyond all comparison, greater than anything we can imagine. Affliction/suffering produces glory. The greater our affliction/suffering, the greater our glory will be. Therefore, the way through affliction/suffering is to look ahead and try to imagine the glory. If affliction/suffering and glory were placed on a balance scale, for once the disparity would be to our advantage!
“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are transparent, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” II Corinthians 4:18
(I wish I understood why the men who assigned chapter and verse numbers split sentences into two verses and in some verses have more than one sentence!)
“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison while we look not at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are transparent, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”   II Corinthians 4:17-18
There! That’s better!
Don’t look at the affliction/suffering. Look at the glory. Try to imagine that scale and see the balance arm moving the trays. Replace every thought of pain with as many thoughts of glory as it takes to tip that scale.
Whatever we can see is temporal (of or relating to time as opposed to eternity). Affliction/suffering is temporal. Material possessions are temporal. The things which are not seen are eternal. God, Jesus, Holy Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, meekness, self-control. These are eternal. Focus on them.