Weary of the Trials

Troublesome times; we all have them, and as Christians we seem to have more than our share! How can a person find comfort and strength in God in the midst terrible trials and great sorrows?

There seem to be plenty of woes to go around in the world these days! Many are still struggling with job losses, and unemployment, and the general mood of so many people that write or call me is one of fear, depression, or anxiety brought on by situations in life they cannot control.

Consider this Psalm of lament that was written by someone who was obviously in a time of tremendous difficulty:  

"Oh God, where are you in my sorrow? Where are you in my distress? Where are you with answers and help? Oh God I need you. I am washed over with grief and sorrow, my heart is failing within me. Oh God, comfort me in my distress this morning! Lift up my countenance bring me hope and joy! Remove these dark clouds of despair from my heart and mind. Each time I think the darkness can grow no deeper I am brought lower into the abyss of sorrow and mourning. My life has taken jolting twists and turns and I fear I do not know where I will wind up in the end. It is as though I am on a runaway cart in the darkest cavern and I am holding on for dear life. Where can I find You Lord? Where do I go to bask in Your goodness and light? I wish to hide myself in Thee, in the folds of Your magnificent train. Comfort me in my distress Oh Lord, for I am weak and failing to stand."
You can hear a grieving heart in the words of a person who is in distress. The world's answer to these feelings is medication that will alter the chemicals in our bodies so we feel no pain or at least don’t care that we must go through difficulties. I have to admit, that when I find myself "washed over with grief and sorrow" I too am tempted to seek an easy escape.  No one likes to suffer, and no one likes to feel sad.  

The psalmist had it right; and she turned to the Lord instead of a way of artificial escape.

Our emotions want to sweep us away, don't they? When I am in that place of emotional turmoil there are times I just want to do it sit and stare at a wall. I might try to spiritualize it and say that I am "being still before God," but in my heart I know what I am doing has little spiritual benefit. I am really meditating on my problems and ruminating on my sorrows.

How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Psalm 13:2 (NASB)

When the Psalmist says he is taking counsel in his soul it means he is thinking about his problems. This results in having a sorrowful heart all day long.

What do we do when we are in tremendous suffering and experiencing deep rivers of sorrow and grief?  How can we mine the gold from the Word of God that will bring us up from the darkness and gloom and into His glorious joy and rest again?

First, understand that your emotions are physical responses from thoughts that either please you or displease you and translate into what we know as happiness, hope, well-being or sorrow, despair, fear, or anger.

Thoughts come from what the Bible calls the inner man, which is the place of reason (Matt 13:15), and feelings and affections (Ecc 7:9; Isa 35:4), as well as the place our will resides (Ps 25:12).

Thoughts also are obviously a function of the brain. The brain carries out the hidden desires of the heart (inner man), the immaterial part of you I so often refer to in this blog. The heart drives your thoughts, beliefs, and desires.

Thinking is both an inner man activity and a bodily function. We are the only creatures like this! This is why the Psalmist says "we are fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14)!

Biblically speaking, most of the time feelings and emotions are responses to things that a sovereign God has brought into life. He allows hardship through financial reversal, He allows rebellious children who throw away all the truth that has been poured into them, He allows job loss, He allows our husbands to sin against us, He allows our bosses to treat us unkindly, and He sets the kings in place over their countries.

How I respond to these or any other things that take place in life reveal what we believe about God.  Tough days are intended to mature us and develop our character. They are intended to diminish our love of the world and cause us to long for our heavenly home.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NASB)

God's purpose in all things is to make us more like Christ as we share in His sufferings.

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son... Romans 8:29 (NASB)

I am thankful this life and its hardships serve a purpose. I am thankful He is accomplishing His goals in my heart and life. I am thankful He loves me.

Do not weary in doing good my friends. Do not despair and do not think all your worldly misery is for nothing. God is aware of every tear and every sorrow. He is walking with you through every moment of suffering.

Pour out your heart to Him and experience His wonderful lavish grace as it washes over your aching heart.