Musings from a promise-collector

Distress and Hope


Monday, July 26, 2010

The loss of a loved one. The loss of a job. Illness. Divorce. Theft. Destruction. Just hearing those words is enough to put a knot in your stomach. Going through any of them is enough to make one sick. And all of us have felt the grief of loss at some point in our lives. In the midst of the pain you find it hard to eat or sleep. The distress you feel makes it hard to think about anything else… let alone even think straight. You can feel like you’re falling. You begin to wonder if God even hears your cries. The Psalm writer had the same feelings when he penned his song to the Lord.

Psalm 77
1I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands
and my soul refused to be comforted.
3 I remembered you, O God, and I groaned;
I mused, and my spirit grew faint.
4 You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
5 I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
6 I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart mused and my spirit inquired:
7 “Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”

Can you remember a time you’ve felt this desperate? When you cried out before the Lord for days, weeks, months… and felt forgotten?

So, what do you do when you’re in the midst of your grief? What are we supposed to do with the pain and suffering? The Bible definitely covers the topic and there are good, healthy ways to deal with emotions during these times.

10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will meditate on all your works
and consider all your mighty deeds.
13 Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
16 The waters saw you, O God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
17 The clouds poured down water,
the skies resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
19 Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

The psalmist reminds himself that God is the God of the universe, that He does see us, know us, and hear us. God does not ignore us in our pain and distress. When we focus on God, it doesn’t necessarily make the pain lessen any, but it reminds us that God is in control. And when we feel like we’re falling, there is a hand to catch us.

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