Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. (Psalm 34:19 ESV)
I’m feeling that urge to hope. That fresh-year sense that things might get better. But then I read this verse. And I remember that my Father doesn’t promise a prosperous new year.
He promises the opposite. In fact Jesus says my afflictions will be MANY. Trials will come–normal, daily stresses and possibly heavy devastating burdens. I feel the weight of that word MANY lately… cardiomyopathy, hurt from those once trusted, financial worries, a child diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
Sometimes I look at this overwhelming wall of trials and fall into despair. Then it’s compounded with the guilt of that inner voice who says, “It’s not THAT bad. Others have it so much worse. Don’t be so whiny.”
Two things come to mind.
First, my pain is my pain. It just “is what it is.” Others may suffer far worse, but that doesn’t mean my struggle isn’t heartwrenching, overwhelming, terrifying, exhausting FOR ME. I wish I were stronger. I wish I could simply rejoice in my suffering, and at times, by God’s grace, I do, but when dark sadness rains, (and it does) I need not layer guilt on top of the rest.
I’m not alone in my despair. Many others have cried in the darkness. How often does the psalmist plead with God? Even Jesus wept. He keeps my tears in a bottle. He doesn’t turn me away when I weep. He listens, never leaves me, holds me in his arms like a shepherd.
Second, “but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” I wish this part would happen faster. So many of the greatest stories in the Bible have these LONG periods of waiting. Joseph in slavery, Moses in the wilderness, the Israelites in the wilderness, and many more.
But, even after long years of waiting, God always keeps his promise. He always delivers them. I look at this promise, and I honestly struggle to believe it applies to me. He won’t deliver ME from all of MY heartache. Others, maybe. Me, probably not. I focus on the first part of the verse and ignore the second.
I don’t know how he will deliver me from all my trials. It will probably not be in a way I expect. It may not be for many years, but all those catch phrases we say as Christians are true. I am part of his story. He “has a plan” for my life. It’s during this time he carries me. He hasn’t forgotten me and I am not alone. How I cling to these truths. How I cling to Jesus.
Help me, Jesus, to trust you even in the storm. Help me to not feel guilty for being sad. Help me to believe your promise.
God bless, friends, and remember He loves you like there’s not tomorrow.