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 who 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
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)
4 I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Applaud God’s Greatness (Rejoice in Him)
1 I will praise the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.
2 I will boast in the Lord; the humble will hear and be glad.
3 Proclaim Yahweh’s greatness with me; let us exalt His name together.
Abide in God alone (Take Refuge in Him)
8 Taste and see that the LORD is good. How happy is the man who takes
refuge in him.
18 The LORD is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.
19 Many adversities come to the one who is righteous, but the LORD delivers
him from them all.
Redeems Us (He buys us back)
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.
Genesis 1:21 (HCSB)
So God created the large sea-creatures and every living creature that moves and swarms in the water, according to their kinds. He also created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Psalm 104:25 (HCSB)
Here is the sea, vast and wide, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small.
Recently Weyburn and I spent a morning discovering some of the wonders of God’s creation at the new Ripley’s Aquarium Canada. We are treating some of our children and grandchildren to this experience for their Christmas gift. This was our second trip to the aquarium in two months and I saw things that I had not noticed the time before. I look forward to discovering something new during each of our next two visits. The beauty and complexity of God’s creations are truly amazing.
As we walked among the dozens of displays viewing God’s handiwork, our son Don said something like: “…and to think that some believe there was no plan to this, it just happened; that the variety and complexity of the sea life we are seeing was not created by God.”
Weyburn and Don later sat down as the children were engaged in the interactive displays. They began to talk about the improbability of the millions of species all evolving from one cell. They were having a special conversation between father and son sharing their thoughts and their faith. However, that was not all that God had in mind. A young man, unknown to Don and Weyburn, “happened” to be standing beside them listening, and he joined the conversation saying, “They dropped out of grade 10.” I think he was trying to say that the life form, instead of continuing to evolve to the next stage, stopped, or “dropped out of grade 10.” That’s as much as I heard. If you know me, you know that I hate confrontation. I walked away, knowing my men could handle this discussion of creation vs evolution. If you know the Snider men, they do not step away from any theological challenge or discussion. As it turned out, this special young man is Jewish. They bantered back and forth for quite a while. As I walked around taking pictures of our grandchildren, I watched and prayed from across the very busy room. God was at work. It was a very friendly discussion, each one speaking and then listening to the other. As the discussion came to a close, Weyburn challenged the young man to read his Torah asking God to show him the truth. Weyburn also challenged him to read Isaiah 53. The young man promised that he would.
That morning, as the seven of us gathered in the SUV to leave for Toronto, Don asked me to pray and ask for God’s blessing on the day. I thanked God for this time we were going to have together, I asked Him for safety, and then I asked Him to help us all to be a shining light for Him. I’ve prayed this many times before, but have rarely seen God answer is such an obvious way.
Needless to say, we are praying for this man. I’m not sure if Weyburn and Don were planting the seed or watering seed that had already been planted, but we are praying that soon God will bring in the harvest of this soul.
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 1 Corinthians 3:6 (KJV)
Have you planted seed lately? Have you watered?
Debi Snider... more