“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” (Psalm 34:17-19)
Lately, looking at my Facebook wall has sent my feelings spinning. Just scanning 50 status updates can send my emotions up and down in less than 60 seconds. Ah, her daughter got married . . . Ugh, the cancer is back . . . She got a new puppy! . . . They have miscarried . . . What a fun vacation they are on (wish I was!) . . . Oh no, her grandma just passed away.
Living with chronic illness is a lot like this same roller coaster ride. Oh, my neck isn’t hurting today. I can’t believe it! . . Gosh, I nearly fell! . . . I have to have more tests, the doctor seems so worried . . . The lab reports aren’t as bad as I expected . . . Oh no, the insurance has denied the procedure I already had . . . My headache is finally easing up . . . I was denied disability assistance–again. Can you relate?
As I read these scriptures, Psalm 34:17-19, I realized that it was repetitive. First, it says, “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.” Okay, from this I gather the righteous have troubles, they cry out, God deliver them from the troubles. Got it. Sounds pretty good actually.
Then the scripture reminds us that God is close to those of us who feel completely crushed. I consider this the “face-plant surrender.” I define brokenhearted as when you are on your knees, head in your hands, crying out, “I have nothing left to give, God. I am empty. I feel like my heart has been ripped out.” Thank goodness God is extra close to those of us who are there!
Then the scripture continues, “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” What’s the different between Psalm 34:17 and Psalm 34:19? We are reminded that a righteous person may have many troubles. Many? . . . Many? What’s with that?
Yes, in 1 Peter 4:12 we are told not to be surprised by our painful trials. In The Message version it says:
“Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.”
God promises that when we suffer, He will deliver us from out troubles and trials–all of them, not just a few and not just the big ones. Our delivery from them may be on earth –or may be in heaven– but we will (eventually) be delivered from them all.
If we didn’t suffer, would would never need a deliverer. And God designed us so that we would need Him–desperately! It’s the way we are built.
Prayer: Lord, my emotions may go up and down because of good news and bad news of those I care about as well as my own state of health. Let me remember the ways You have delivered me from my troubles and trials in the past so I can just sink into Your arms when I am suffering and not waste my energies in the emotional roller coaster. Amen.
About the author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is gradually learning how to balance motherhood, family, illness, and ministry, but she still knows it will be a lifetime lesson. You can see the books she has written, including, Why Can’t I Make People Understand? at the Rest Ministries shop.
When you are suffering or seeing how others are suffering, where does your mind wander? Do you recall God’s promise to deliver or do you focus on how big the trials are?
This is a beautiful song, “You Deliver Me” by Selah. The whole video has a background of the ocean shore, which is where I always go to seek out God’s presence. It brought me goosebumps and I hope this song bless you too. -Lisa