when tragedy strikes
the suffering of fools
temptations, tests, and trials
why does God test man, part one
testing and the education of life
what my cat taught me about testing, and trusting
why does God test man, part two
we are the clay
when we suffer: a warning
We have been going through various trials for several years now. Things got even harder about seven months ago, over the holidays. I know – how could things get any harder? They could.
My sister, whose ear is tuned in to the Lord’s heart, gave me The Psalms of David by James Freemantle for Christmas. What a blessing this book of illuminated Psalms has been to me! David was a man who suffered hard things his whole life, yet his heart was after the Lord’s heart. Reading his Spirit-inspired Psalms comforted my heart when I was grieving, strengthened me to face another day, and helped me express my heart to the Lord without sinning with my mouth. And the Lord’s promises to the righteous found all through the Psalms gave me hope that I would still see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Just recently I picked up Beside Still Waters: Words of Comfort for the Soul by C. H. Spurgeon. This book of 366 vignettes taken from Spurgeon’s sermons and from 64 books of the Bible has been updated in modern English. “Spurgeon’s choice perspectives on God’s mercy, provision, protection, and compassion will resonate deeply within your spirit. These timeless words will touch your hurt with the healing of the Shepherd who knows His flock and who cares for them completely.” I will be excerpting passages from time to time here; what I have read so far is rich.
Then there are those times when I cannot open the Bible, pray, go to church, or do anything at all to help myself, my spirit has been so crushed. I put on Enter the Worship Circle and let the music and the songs based on the Psalms wash over me, minister to me and strengthen me. I am reminded that no matter what happens in this life, my Father God will never leave me or forsake me here, in this life, and I will spend eternity with Him afterwards. I just cannot stop the joy from overtaking the grief when I think of that!
flip the switch
the poetry of drawing near
hearts wounded by suffering
what my thimble taught me
pride: the hidden problem with hardness
portrait of a yielded heart
the poetry of a yielded heart
comfort when we suffer
taking comfort: psalm 42
the poetry of taking comfort
comfort, comfort, o my people
comfort as a mother comforts
a rabbit trail
the joy of intimacy
the poetry of intimacy
God’s comforting presence
why don’t I feel God?
christians and suffering
back from the abyss
< Then there are those times when I cannot open the Bible, pray, go to church, or do anything at all to help myself, my spirit has been so crushed. >
I am SO glad you said this. It's exactly what I'm going through and while I feel so unspiritual, I do feel too broken to reach out to God. Sometimes I talk to Him (at Him?) but the Bible is gathering dust for now and a church will have to wait awhile to see me at the door.
On Sunday morning dh and I ended up having somewhat of an (clearing throat here) argument which lasted for a goodly length of time. Something he said about what I've been going through for the past 4 years was apparently misinterpreted by me and I just sobbed from the bottom of my gut. Have you ever done that? This was no shallow, surfacy, light kind of sobbing. This was gut wrenching, body wracking sobbing. I don't know when the last time was that I sobbed like that so I'm thinking I won't soon forget it. I didn't know my emotions were so…crushed.
Sometimes life just hurts.
A book that helped me tremendously a couple of years ago was a daily devotional called "Streams in the Desert", a reprint of an older book that I found in my local Christian bookstore. I highly recommend it to anyone who is going through a long difficult time.
Maybe you can address this sometime in your series-what do you do with the verse which says…"the God of all comfort, who comforts you in your various trials…"do you know the one I'm talking about? I can't think of the reference now, but it goes on to say that we will be able to comfort others with the comfort we've been given by God in our personal afflictions.
What if you don't feel comforted by God??
I can honestly say that at this time, I hate that verse. It is not true for me. God has not been comforting me…therefore He is a liar.
How can I reconcile that?
Being broken and feeling faithless, I only have raw honesty to share here.
So there you have it. My honesty.
Dear Joanna, the comfort of God through our trials was going to be my next post. 🙂 Sometimes I do not feel that warm and sweet love from the Lord in my heart, but that does not make God's word, which says "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord," (Romans 8:37-39) a lie. It is my feelings that are lying to me, not God. Sometimes I have to receive God's love like I received salvation: by grace through faith. When we trust too much to our feelings, they can lead us astray, because they are fickle and subject to all kinds of variables, up one day and down the next. I would say to you, God is true though every man be found a liar (and though every man's feelings be found a liar, Romans 3:4).
Dear sister, is your heart bitter toward Him? Repent of bitterness, for it does not help you in your grief, but causes trouble (Hebrews 12:15). Receive His comfort by faith, and draw near to Him. Ask for His help in drawing near to Him; He helps all who call on Him. Praise and worship Him for who He is. He will draw near to you. He is not afar off, for "The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34:18)Edited by christinemiller on Wednesday, July 27, 2005 at 3:59 PM
But Christine, I have to ask you-what is the purpose of God's comfort if you can't FEEL it? Isn't that the whole point of comfort? That you FEEL comforted? Otherwise…..who cares? Know what I mean?
Yes, I do have bitterness towards Him. It kind of comes and goes. Some days I "feel" less bitter than others. Sometimes I'm able to work through it but then it crops up again at another time.
I also have had a problem with the scripture "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." Trust me-I have tried to draw near for months and even years at a time. He will not be found. He has hidden His face from me. It can't be something on my part…I've done everything I can to feel His presence, to find His comfort, to draw as near to Him as I could, and yet….nothing.
So, to be painfully honest, for now I've given up. I've asked Him to bring me back, to give me more faith, to heal my emotions and to forgive my bitterness.
Maybe someday I'll be able to give you a wonderful testimony of this time. I hope so. For now, though….(to be continued)…..
Joanna, I have sent you a private e-mail; I did not want to post publicly, since we are getting into such personal waters. For others, I will be posting more about the comfort of God; please keep an eye out for it. If you would like to be notified, subscribe in the right sidebar near the top; there is a place for your e-mail address.
Ooops, Joanna, I cannot send you a private e-mail. I do not have your e-mail address. I have been praying over your post all day, if you would like my response, please e-mail me at alittleperspective [at] gmail [dot] com with your e-mail address and I will send it. With much love, because I have been there, ChristineEdited by christinemiller on Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 2:39 PM