“You have kept count of my tossing; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.” Psalm 56:8-13
Good afternoon my friends. How has your week been? I know that many of you can’t answer that question with a simple, “it was good,” or, “great.” For many of you, the answer may not be so pretty. Maybe your week was terrible. Maybe life is falling apart. I may not know your exact situation, but I fully understand what it feels like when your heart just hurts.
It’s hard to walk through painful seasons. We’re not very good at talking about it right? That may be in part due to the happy-go-lucky cultural push we live in. We like pretty things. We like simple things. We like a smile. It’s often painful and difficult to come out and admit that life isn’t all sunshine. That we’ve failed or that people around us have. Whatever your circumstances, I mentioned something about the Lord’s character last week that I want to reiterate to you now. The Lord is all knowing. Just as He knows your sins, He also knows your pain. Your pain does not overwhelm Him or catch Him off guard. He is there with you. God can handle your honesty.
We often struggle with understanding the Lord’s purpose in our struggles. How do we turn to God when our life is a mess? Why won’t He just fix it? I can’t pretend to know the answers to those questions. What I do know is this; God’s original plan for us is very different than the reality we are currently living. Sin has corrupted every facet and part of our lives. The entrance of sin into the world affected even the state of nature. Tragedy and pain stem from this condition.
The majority of Psalms can be classified as psalms of lament. These are written in response to the pain that darkness causes. Among these laments there are two types: corporate and individual. This means that some psalms were written as the nation of Israel mourned together and others as a personal lament. They give us a clear example of what it looks like to experience sorrow and bring it before the Lord.
Whatever the classification, there is a general theme we see emerging in the psalms. Psalms of lament don’t put a pretty sheen on pain and they usually end (or include) praise to the Lord.
Psalms 13:3-6 reads, “Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed over him,’ lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”
Even as David expresses his pain to the Lord, he is still recognizing that God is sovereign, He is good, He is righteous. David does not forget the Lord’s goodness even in his pain. His example teaches us a lot. It’s ok, and good to talk to the Lord about what we’re experiencing. God is not afraid of your pain. But in that moment, in being honest, in crying out for Him to move, do not forget who He is or what He has done. Even when it’s hard, there is meaning and purpose in continually praising the Lord. He doesn’t cease to be good when the world is not. In lament, remind yourself of His nature.
“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalms 62:8
Trusting the Lord is so stinking difficult. When everything goes wrong, I want to take control. I so want to plan my own life out. Which, as you can imagine, doesn’t tend to go well. Trusting the Lord is something I have to daily remind myself of sometimes. When I attempt to control things, I mess up my life. Trusting someone, even God, to know what is best for me, is difficult to say the least. If you’re anything like me, you have to remind yourself of who God is often. God is the king of the world. Jesus has got this. When it’s too much for us it’s never too much for Him.
I want to close by reminding you of what we talked about last Friday. It’s hard to confess our failings to the people we love. Vulnerability is scary but so so good in the end. (You can read last week’s post here if you missed it!) In the same way, I often struggle to let “my people,” know when I’m hurting. I’ve struggled with the lie that my problems are too much and with the desire to hide my pain. We lie to ourselves all the time. Recognize that my friends! We are always better together, in community. Let the people in your life come in and grieve with you. Let them encourage you. Let them care for you and point you back to the Lord.
I know this is a heavy topic friends. We don’t like to talk about our sadness and I know this post may bring up a lot of emotions for you. I’m praying that these words ultimately encourage you to bring your pain before the Lord. Pour out your heart to Him first and foremost and then invite people in to help you. If I can be praying for you in any specific way, please let me know. Much love.