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I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. Psalm 34:1

I received a phone call one day from the wife of a friend of mine. ‘Jerry’ had gone into the hospital the day before for tests. He was already considered disabled as a result of an illness that kept him from working. He’d lost his job, was forced to sell all of his ‘toys’ and now his wife was back in the workplace. The doctor’s report wasn’t good. It was determined that the disease had progressed to the point where he wouldn’t be able to take care of the kids while his wife was at work.

After talking with Jerry’s wife for a bit I decided to make the trip down to the hospital. On the way down I was praying for Jerry and his family, wondering what it would be like to have lost everything, thinking of how lucky I was to not be in his position. I also prayed for wisdom to be able to say the right things to lift my dear friend’s spirits during this most trying of times.

The walk down the hallway to his room was excruciating. I looked inside and saw him still connected to all sorts of tubes and wires and my heart sank. “Lord, help me know what to say,” I whispered under my breath as I entered the room.

Everything changed once Jerry I entered that hospital room…everything in my attitude that is. We sat and talked for nearly 45 minutes. During that time Jerry did most of the talking. He talked about how fortunate he was to have Jesus in his life. He talked about how wonderful his wife was. He bragged about how well his kids were doing in school. With my help he showed me a verse he’d read the day before and how it had blessed him. There was little said about the doctors, the tubes, the disease or his future. None of that mattered to Jerry. Jesus would take care of that.

I left the room wondering what had just happened! I was supposed to be the one to encourage, yet I was encouraged by the very person who should have been down. I was spoken to in a real way that day. The passage Jerry had shown me was Psalm 34. Psalm 34 was written by someone else who was in dire circumstances: King David.

When David wrote this Psalm he was running for his life from King Saul. He’d taken refuge in enemy territory and acted insane to save his life. He was humiliated, homeless; he’d been betrayed and felt completely alone. Still, in the midst of his despair he was able to praise his God.

The reason David was able to sing praises in his despair is because he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that no matter where he was, no matter what had happened in his life, no matter what lay ahead of him, God was with him to guide, provide and protect.

What struggles are you facing today? Is your past haunting you? Have you been betrayed or rejected? Do you have health, relational or financial concerns? Remember what Jerry and David remembered. In our times of deepest need we need only look to Jesus for comfort and strength. Trusting in Jesus doesn’t take away the pain of life, but it does give us strength and wisdom to move on.

PRAYER: Holy God. I thank You for the promise that you will be with me in every situation. I praise you because you know better than anyone else my pain, sorrow, frustration and fears. I ask that you would strengthen me to move on in life. Help me to put life in perspective so that I can be an encouragement to others regardless of my own circumstances. Amen.

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