Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Encouragement of the Old Testament - Psalms Part 2

Another way that the Psalms and Lamentations have encouraged me is how they express confidence in God's faithfulness and His goodness. When you read the words of people who were in deepest despair - people like David, whose father-in-law the King of Israel was hunting him down to try to kill him - you can find tremendous encouragement from the fact that these writers still trusted God and turned to Him for relief. Even in their darkest struggles, they had faith in God. If they can trust Him through such trials, then we can too.

Part of the comfort I have taken in books like the Psalms is the fact that they do not belittle or demean the pain of suffering. They don't try to trivialize it or suggest we're overreacting to it. On the contrary, it is clear from the Psalms that the writers experienced agonizing suffering. But their faith still held throughout their trials, and they still affirmed God's goodness. So whatever we're struggling through, we can be comforted that God was faithful to them and will be faithful to us. Great suffering is not evidence that God has abandoned us. If we put our trust in Him and hold fast to His promises, as the Psalmists did, we will find hope and comfort.

Four of my favorite Psalms for comfort: Psalm 34, Psalm 37, Psalm 56, and Psalm 73.


Matt Taylor said...

The question that comes to my mind is "How?" How can the Psalmists find comfort in times of agonizing struggle? What are the seeing that I am not?

Answer: God. God and all that he truly is. It is only the truth of God's glorious attributes that can sustain us through the trials of this truly short life.

Come Lord Jesus!

In Christ,

Anthony Bushnell said...

Amen. Thanks for commenting. I am amazed by how the Psalmists keep their focus on God no matter what is happening to them. Regardless of the trials, they keep turning their eyes back to Him. That is the way to endure suffering: don't let anything take your eyes of Christ.

God hears them because they trust in Him, rather than turning to something else.

"We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." 2 Chronicles 20:12c

Sarah said...

One of my favorites for times of distress is Psalm 13. Love you.