Pain and suffering, heartache and struggles are things none of us enjoy, but are familiar to us all. I have friends in two separate situations that are facing extremely difficult times right now. As far as I know, all involved are following Jesus, and trying to obey Him. My heart breaks for them, and I wish that I could take their pain away, if only for a few hours. What I can do is assure them that God is with them and will stay with them every step of the way.
The Bible reading plan that I am following this year had me reading Psalm 34 a couple of weeks ago. In the margin of my Bible, next to the text, I found a date - August 8, 2009. This date brings back a flood of memories. I see now that the content of these verses, and the truths that the speaker pointed out that day, were just what I had needed to survive the next couple of years. I didn’t go back to these verses and consciously follow their guidance, but today I realize the instruction God gives in those verses became part of who I am, and became the way I thought and behaved.
This Psalm brings direction, hope and promise to all who are facing struggles and situations that seem desperate. The verses in Psalm 34 indicate that there are some things we need to do, and, there are things the scripture promises that God will do. The following are a combination of the truths the speaker mentioned in 2009, and some I identified in my current study.
Accept the Lord’s Plans
verse 1 "I will praise the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. "
Admit the Problem (take the problem to Him)
verse 4 "I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears."
Applaud God’s Greatness (Rejoice in Him)
verse 1 - 3 "I will praise the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. I will boast in the Lord; the humble will hear and be glad. Proclaim Yahweh’s greatness with me; let us exalt His name together."
Abide in God alone (Take Refuge in Him)
verse 8 "Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in him."
verse 18-19 "The Lord is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit. Many adversities come to the one who is righteous, but the Lord delivers him from them all."
Redeems Us (He buys us back)
verse 22 "The Lord redeems the life of His servants, and all who take refuge in Him will not be punished."
We are all familiar with the concept of praising God during hard times. You may be tempted to be angry that these hard times are part of the Lord’s plans. But I think of Job. It was Satan’s idea to tempt Job and bring devastation to him. God allowed it, because He knew the trials would make Job even stronger.
August 26, 2009 will be ingrained in my memory forever. This was the day our 3 ½ year old grandson was diagnosed with leukemia. We did not like what Jon-Marc had to go through, but God has made each member of our family stronger and better Christians because of it. Jon-Marc’s parents have grown in amazing ways. Yes, they had horrible days, they had times of questioning God, but they never turned from Him; they asked for His help and strength.
Yes, heartache comes to the Christian, but God is there. He WILL deliver! He will redeem. He will make up for all of the struggle you are going through and will reward you for taking refuge in Him.
He wants to be with you today. If you are facing the most difficult time in your life, don’t despair. There is hope, and the future will be brighter. Get to know Psalm 34 well. Make it part of your daily reading and practice its instruction. Then claim the promises God gives to all who will trust in Him.
Debi Snider... more