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Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Bit of Encouragement in Very Difficult Days


Psalm 22:24 (NIV)
24 For he has not despised or disdained
      the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
      but has listened to his cry for help.

Everyone goes through tough times.  Each person struggles on certain days. Those of us who do not have an abundance of money think that the wealthy have nothing but wine and song all their days but they do not. Those who feel unloved think that those famous people in the movies or television who are so beautiful and appear to be so loved are always comforted by others who truly love them, but they are not. So, even the rich and famous have terrible days.

Some people have more than their fair share of difficulties. I don't know how we define what is "fair." Yet, we see parents who lose all their children in multiple tragedies. We see those whose financial status gets worse and worse because the companies which employ them continue to downsize and go out of business. It leaves them looking for work more than actually working. Their families suffer because of the financial strain.

I have always thought that no matter what I am going through there was someone going through something worse than me. That logic means that there is someone who has the absolute worst difficulties. I wonder if this person knows that their's is the worst.

What makes our situation worse is thinking that no one cares. We think that no one will help us, comfort us or even think of us in our difficulties. We believe we are alone in a boat in the middle of the ocean without oars, sails, motor or radio. No one even misses us. No one is looking for us.

We turn to God and ask, "Why?" Have we done something so bad that we have earned this suffering? We wonder why God would send such a tragedy. We wonder how He could let it happen. We curse and cry and think He is not listening.

But God has not turned His face away. I know that His tears match ours when He sees us in pain. I know that He hears our cries and I know that He is full of love and compassion. I know that He is working when we do not see Him working. I know that He is caring when we cannot hear Him. I know that He has prepared the way out of the difficulties even before we started our path into them.

No one is ever really alone. No matter what you are going through. God is always there in His full knowledge or what you are going through. He has a way for you.

So, turn to Him fully and do not hold back. Tell Him your struggles and your fears. Tell Him your disappointments and hurts. Tell Him of your loneliness. Tell Him of your pain.

Then know this with all your heart: He is listening. He is caring and He is rescuing you.

3 comments:

high-expressions said...

Psalm 22:24 (NIV)
24 For he has not despised or disdained
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.



While this psalm, Psalm 22, can be taken in a sense, to be partly descriptive of a time or season in the life of David, and there were periods of time in David’s life, where he was under great distress, afflictions, and was despondent, it is best looked at, as a prophetic psalm by David, prophetic of the distress, afflictions, and suffering and despondency of our Lord, at a moment in the final phase of His life and ministry on earth.

Is there some basis of saying so, the above, that this was a prophetic song of David on the Messiah? Yes, this reference below, does point to David having revelation of the Messiah’s coming to die and be resurrected:

30But he {David} was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. (Acts 2:20-31)

On issue of severity of distress, afflictions, and despondency, it is always necessary to talk about such matter in relation to the sufferer; meaning, what is NOT a great distress for one, does NOT mean it is NOT, to another. Of course, it could be, because of David’s own experience of such pains and distress in his own life, that the Lord used him to express and record for us such a prophecy.

Personally, ever since my own suffering of my own set of pains and distress in life of a few years ago, I have come to understand and appreciate a lot more of Scripture, particularly the Psalms. Through my own experience, the Lord could open my eyes to see the richness of the psalms as embodiment of the exchanges and expressions between men and God. One does not need to literally go through it all (all the afflictions), and no one could ever, go through the suffering that the Savior went through, to reconcile us to God - to give us the peace, and the means to victorious living, both now, here on earth, and thereafter.

If it is hell to you, so to speak, for your situation, you can identify yourself in David or Jesus’ afflictions and suffering. In fact, why Jesus, as the High Priest, is unlike man-high-priest, is due to the fact that He suffered such so much to the point of cruel death of crucifixion, whereas the man-high-priests, they did not (Heb 7:23). As the High Priest, Jesus is the go-in-between, between us and the Father God, and He is a intercessor who has been there, suffered that, and fully understands the predicament of Man, and this is what make Him the most ideal intercessor for us, before God (Heb 4:15, Heb 2:18).

Cont...

high-expressions said...

Cont. from above

For me, the afflicted one, in verse 24, the verse Ps Prentis used, was referring to Jesus Christ (NOT David himself); in this view, you can take it that it was David, who had a vision of Christ Jesus at His (Jesus’) final phase of ministry on earth (a prophetic vision he, David, had). David saw (in that futuristic {relative to David} vision) God did NOT despise or disdain the suffering of Jesus; God did NOT hide His face from Jesus, but had listened to Jesus’ cry for help.

It was a revelation to David, and that revelation changed David’s perspective of what he himself was facing. It was likely that David was in some kind of despondency himself, and as he related his own situation to God, in the midst of it, God gave him a picture of the suffering Messiah. Because he could see how God did NOT despise, and had NOT hidden His face from Jesus, and had listened to the cry of Jesus for help, a transformation took place in the heart of David.

In the subsequent few verses, the psalmist, David, said he had found the theme of his praise in the great assembly. Before those who feared God, the psalmist said he would fulfill his vows {the psalmist, David’s personal vows} to God (People did vow to God – see Ps 66:14).

Because of the revelation of the future, of the restoration of Jesus, the psalmist, David, boldly declared that the poor would eat and be satisfied; people who seek God would praise Him, God; their hearts be ever contented. All the ends of the earth would remember and turn to the LORD, and all the peoples of the world would bow down before Him, God. The psalmist said, “For dominions belongs to the LORD and He rules over the nations.”

In other words, David’s was uplifted, his despondency left him; no more was his problem seen as too big or difficult, and he had NOT the need to be full of stress in coping with his hurdles or oppositions. A revelation from God changes how we view things. That was what happened to the psalmist, David; God revealed the sacrifice of the Son of God, and that changed David’s outlook. It can be that, a revelation from God is NOT necessarily directly on our issue on hand, but it is relevant enough for us to see the “light”, nonetheless, for our situation. It is NOT that our problem necessarily disappeared, but so pertinent is the sudden realization that it will make it possible for us to pass through valley of death, even.

A couple of years back I was in affliction, greatly troubled, and was despondent; it was like the whole world had collapsed on me, so to speak. In order NOT to make this comment any longer, the specific details I am leaving out; but just to give you a sense, I could NOT sleep, and had to hug the Bible and constantly calling the name of Jesus to get myself to sleep; even suicidal thought ever came to me. It is NOT uncommon for anyone in such situation, like mine, to ask, “How can it come to be like that?” God does NOT necessarily answer that question; but if we are humble, and come with contrite heart, and press in, He will show us something, a revelation, and that revelation, if we hold on to it, it will be like a strength that undergird us to grit our teeth to move forward, through our affliction.

Cont...

high-expressions said...

Cont. from above

My revelation came as a hearing from God, in the form of a thought (NOT a still small voice, for my case). It was a terrible thing to have happened to me, but from the revelation, it dawned upon me that although I should NOT be afflicted (it was wrong), God had accepted it, that it had happened. “Bad thing happens to good people”, God does NOT stop all of these; He still allows for volition of men. Can the bad thing, a case of against the commandment of God? Yes, it was known to God, it happened. God knew it? Yes. God did NOT stop it from happening? Yes. There is nothing strange about that; many of us wanted to sin and we sin, God does NOT necessarily stop us! And it is completely NOT strange that a believer sins against another believer! It was the case, for my case. If you look at David, generally speaking, he was having such a case of another, King Saul, sinning against him, David; Saul, a King, repeatedly sought to destroy David!

Serious afflictions often are NOT short-lived, David’s was NOT, (Saul pursued David for years), and mine, too. It took about 4 years for mine to subside. But just because of that one revelation by God, I could go through my 4 years’ journey of affliction; I call it, the most difficult period of my life. Yet, on top of passing through that difficult period, that 4 years period was my most fruitful time with the Lord; in the 4 years I touched more lives than my previous 20 years as a Christian. Key to the ministry of the 4 years was from the first revelation; I begun to learn the receiving of thoughts from God, and the moving in the spiritual gifts of words of knowledge and prophecy. Through the spiritual gifts, I ministered divine healing, set people free, ministered wholeness, and prayed for breakthroughs for people’s impasses. Because of my suffering and afflictions, God used me to minister to people in afflictions. The marvel of those who knew of my circumstances was that all of these were happening while I had to struggle through all the problems coming from my great affliction. All glory to God.

Indeed, don’t despise or disdain your suffering as the afflicted one; verse 24 of Ps 22, which Ps Prentis quoted, said that He (God, to me) did NOT do that, for the afflicted one (the Son of God {Jesus}, to me). Based on the strength of the words of this verse, I dare say, God does NOT despise or disdain our suffering as the afflicted ones. The afflicted one (Jesus, to me) cried out to God for help, and that verse said that He (God, to me) did NOT hid His face from the afflicted one. So, I exhort you to seek God out, humble yourself, be with contrite heart, and cry out to Him, press in, and He, surely will NOT hide His face from you.

More pertinently, I wish you receive a revelation from God in the time of your suffering and affliction, that you are transformed, just as I was, in mine; that, indeed, you can have the strength to go through your journey of affliction, and at the same time, be fruitful for Him, and be of increasing closeness of walk, with your Lord, our God. May you pass through your journey of troubles, and come out of it, stronger, just as I have. May you be able to say, just as I now can say (and just as Joseph, son of Israel {Jacob} did say), “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Gen 50:20).

Humbly His,
Anthony Chia, high.expressions