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
help when we hurt
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 is something we do for ourselves, and not something we have to wait for the Lord to do (I know; I would rather be twanged by the Lord’s fairy godmother wand than to have to put forth effort too). The biblical principle of controlling our state of emotion with our reason, our thoughts, rather than being forced to endure whatever negative or depressing feeling our
heart would inflict on us, is clearly illustrated in the Psalms (as elsewhere in Scripture).
As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me continually,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.
David has been undergoing some suffering for a period of time, for his tears have been his food day and night. He has been pouring out the grief of his soul to the Lord, but then twice in this Psalm and again in Psalm 43, David says something interesting: he speaks to his own grieving soul:
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him,
my salvation and my God.
He reminds his soul that he can hope in God (hope is one of the components of comfort). He reminds his soul that he will praise the Lord for answering his prayers, so there is light at the end of this tunnel. He reminds his soul that God is his salvation and his God. This is David’s shorthand which meant something to him: that God has saved him before, so hope in God; He has shown by His past actions that He has the desire to act on our behalf. That the One who is our God, is God: the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, so hope in God; He has shown by His past actions that he has the ability to act on our behalf.
David is building up his own soul by reminding himself that, though he might
be cast down for a season, it is temporary; and by reminding himself that his emotions do not line up with reality (which is described by the book of absolute truth, the word of God). His mind tells his heart, This is who my God is, this is the reality, so that I have a reason to be hopeful, not sorrowful; so soul, why are you cast down? The emotion you are feeling does not compute!
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
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