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Moment of Great Despair

Scripture: Psalm 23

Yesterday, someone I care for lost his younger brother.  He suffered a stroke last week.  He was only in his twenties.  Yesterday, I also spoke with a friend whose young cousin, barely a teenager, was beat in a crack house.  It is unclear why she was there, but it is apparent that her mother knew that she was there.  Last Friday, I woke up with a terrible pain in my eye.  After going to the doctor, I learned that somehow I had a corneal ulcer and without aggressive medication and treatment, I could lose the sight in my left eye in a matter of weeks.  Within the past week, I have been to the doctor three times for follow up-I am hoping for the best, in spite of today, feeling the worse.

While doing my graduate coursework at DBU, I wrote a paper in my theology class.  Although I don’t remember the title, it asked the question the purpose of pain and suffering from a just God.  Despite how well written the paper , I received a B+.  My professor said I failed to give enough scriptural support.  Perhaps, although I had experienced my fair share of the former, I hadn’t grasped enough understanding of the later to support why pain existed-scripturally or not.

There is a room in my house that I have the following words painted on an entire wall.  It is pretty magnificent to behold, but for me, it makes me pause every day.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD (Jeremiah 29:11)

Yesterday, as I cried, I had to ask “Do you God?”  Was it your plan for a young man to die before his time?  Was it your plan for your young daughter to be beat in a crack house?  One more injustice this young life had to endure.   Is it your plan for me to lose sight?  Is it punishment for the words I spoke last week when I simply refused to do your ministry because the cost was too much for me?    He answered me, “Trust Me.”  Simply, trust Him.

No words I can ever speak will give comfort to a family who has lost a son, brother, or child.  No words I can ever speak will help my friend make peace with the destruction that is going on within her family.  However, the words I tell myself give me comfort.  Trust Him.  Do you know why?  Scripture played a part (I can quote scripture), yet my relationship is the key.  In my moments of greatest despair, I have met the Lord Jesus for myself.   It is in the moments of great despair, that you too, will meet Him.  You will only trust someone whose love you have felt in your deepest spirit.  You will only learn to trust someone whose character you know.   Jehovah- Shammah, the Lord is there.  El-Shaddai, the Lord is Sufficient.  Jehovah – Shalom, the Lord is Peace.  So many names, so many ways to know Him, and so many ways to experience trusting Him.

My testimony is just that, mine.  God has called you to your own.  And as I think about what scripture can possibly sum all of that up, I think of the 23rd Psalm.  It is more than David’s testimony, it is my testimony, it is your testimony, and quite simply it is God telling you to trust Him.

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness

for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk

through the valley of the shadow of death, [a]

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me

all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Prayer:  Lord, you are the Lord of all, Ruler of all men, and Creator of all nations.  So often, we don’t fully understand what it means to trust you until we are confronted with death, sickness, or hurt.  Yet we do know that in all things you are sovereign.  We will never understand some parts of our journey and neither me, nor any theologian will ever be able to explain the reason of “why”, but as we lift our eyes towards you we remain comforted in the fact that you have not nor ever will forsake us.   Today, tomorrow, always…  Amen.

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