PROMISES TO THE BURDENED
Psalm 10:17 – You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed…
As a pastor I’ve had the chance to sit with people at some of the lowest moments of their lives. At the death of a loved one. At the loss of a job. At the news of cancer. In the midst of depression and discouragement. I’ve had a chance to sit with people at some of the lowest moments of their lives and almost to a person they’re all wondering where is God, when will he rescue me, when will he step in to save the day and wipe all our tears away.
They find it hard to sing when the rain is falling. And it is. Its hard to sing; it’s hard to praise God; it’s hard to have joy; it’s hard to be hopeful; it’s hard to be excited and encouraged when things seem to be in the dumper. It’s hard to find joy in those hard moments. It’s just hard to see clearly when the rain is falling. It’s hard to sing loudly when the thunder is rolling.
And I can’t say that I blame them. I completely understand how they feel. There are times when I just don’t want to sing. There are times when I just want to smile. There are times when talk about good things, but my heart just isn’t in it. Maybe you’ve been there before. In fact, probably – you’ve been there before. You’ve been in this place where there was no song of praise on your lips and no song of thanks on heart. You looked at your life, you looked at your relationships, you looked at all the things in your life, all the things that were going on in your life and you almost wanted to shake your fist at God – not sing!
It’s hard to sing a song of praise when the rain is falling. It’s hard to blast our praises when the thunder is rolling. At moments like those it is really, really hard to see how God is doing good for you, how God is working all things for your good. At moments like those it is really, really hard to say anything good or positive about God, because how can you talk highly of God when you don’t think that highly of him. At moments like those it is really, really easy to feel the weight and the burden of your sins and all the wrong things you’ve done. When things aren’t going well, it’s easy to feel the weight of your sin. At moments like those it is really easy to see how many enemies you really have, how many people aren’t on your side at all. At moments like those it is really, really hard to find joy in your life and find joy in your God.
But God’s Word helps faith see clearly. Remember, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. It’s our tendency to focus on what we can see. It’s our tendency to put our hope in things that can touch and plan for. That’s our tendency. But God’s Word helps faith see clearly. God’s Word helps faith trust God boldly and confidently because of the promises of God.
So, today hold on to these specific promises. God is listening. He has heard your cries for help; he has listened to the desires of your heart. He will encourage you and defend you. He is on your side. Don’t be fooled. It may feel like God is against you, that God has become the enemy. But he hasn’t. God himself promises to you, dear child of God, that he is never against you. He is always for you and is never against you.
Lord God, it’s hard to sing and live with joy and confidence when I am afflicted, abused, hurt, and weighed down by my sin and by the painful circumstances of my life. In my pain I find myself grumbling and complaining. Help me hold on to your promises. They show me the light of your face even when it’s dark in my life. They give me hope for the future even when there seems to be nothing to hope. You, Lord, are my light in the darkness. You, Lord, are my hope in my hopelessness. You, Lord, are my peace in my restlessness. Amen.