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Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. Isaiah 53:4

It wasn’t enough to watch from heaven. Your car died. Your kids have just told you that they don’t believe in God. You just lost your job. You can’t sing in church anymore. It’s not that the music is bad. In fact you like the music. You just can’t sing the words anymore. They’ve become hollow syllables, empty letters, and meaningless chatter.

You’ve tried to get the feeling back. You’ve prayed. You think about reading the Bible every day. It’s hard to know if it’s your own failure that has driven you to this point, or if it’s the pain that others have inflicted on you. You’ve been scolded one too many times. You’ve been reminded once too often that you’ve failed.

“Is it worth another try?” you ask yourself as you lay on your back staring at the ceiling and hoping that sleep will come soon to give your mind some rest. The same situations keep replaying themselves over and over in your head. What if you’d made a different choice? What if he didn’t hit you that last time? What if you’d told her she couldn’t go to the party? What if…?

The loneliness and despair surround you like the darkness of your night. You hope sleep comes but fear the dawn because you know the problems will still be there and you aren’t sure where you will get the courage and strength to go one more day.

Then a still small voice comes from the dark corners of your troubled mind. It’s a verse…no a phrase really. You don’t remember where it’s from. It was part of a Sunday School lesson years ago. “I’ll never leave you or forsake you.” That was it, right. He’ll never leave. He promised to be with me…always.

As sleep finally begins to creep in the words keep reminding you, consoling you, healing you. It wasn’t enough for him to watch from heaven. It wasn’t enough for him to ‘understand’ your plight. He knew that the best way he could help you was to come to live with you.

Jesus has felt the pain of every broken relationship. He’s cried with you each time you’ve been lied to. He’s worked through the feelings you have had of failure even though he himself never failed.

That’s what grace is about. It’s about the son of God coming to earth to feel your pain. To endure your failures. To feel your loneliness. He did all of this because he loves you and desperately yearns for a relationship with you. Jesus is passionate about you! It wasn’t enough to watch with sympathy from heaven. Jesus loves you so much he came to earth to experience the pain you feel in life.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I don’t understand how you, as the Son of God, can feel all the feelings I feel. I don’t understand how you can love someone like me who seems to find new ways to fail every day. I don’t understand it. But I like it! Thank you for understanding me. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for loving me so much that you came to earth to show me how to live in the midst of this struggle we call life. Amen.

 


I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Psalm 130:5-6

Have you ever been in a situation where you were waiting anxiously for something to happen? Perhaps you were waiting for God to answer a prayer you had for a loved one who was sick? Waiting for the doctor’s report. Waiting for word on a loved one in the military. Waiting for word from the bank about a loan, or if you were going to keep you house. Waiting for your employer to decide who keeps their job and who becomes unemployed. Waiting for the judge to decide the sentence.

Waiting. It can be agonizing. Waiting can become so much a part of you that controls your thoughts, your sleep, your eating habits, your moods. Waiting can affect your relationships, your outlook on life, and your opinion of God, yourself or others.

I remember when I was going through a terribly stressful time in my life. Everything I had counted on was gone. I was at the mercy of a legal system I didn’t trust. I had no money, no job and, perhaps, no future.

Sleep was fitful at best. I’d go to bed very, very late (or should I say early in the morning) and wake up from a fitful sleep just a few hours later. The lack of sleep caused fatigue which made the problems seem worse. My physical, emotional and spiritual health was failing.

The one thing I looked forward to every morning was seeing the sunrise. Light seemed to ease the fear and the pain. Being able to see what was around me gave me comfort in the midst of hopelessness. I hated the darkness of night.

I would imagine that is the word picture the Psalmist wants us to have in Psalm 130 when he likens waiting to the work of the night watchman. When the Bible repeats a phrase or a word it does so for effect, to show importance. Darkness was scary. Darkness was dangerous.

Today we have security lights and motion detectors. In his day there were torches and, sometimes moonlight. Daylight brought the assurance that you made it through the night without enemy attack. In the daylight you could see the enemy approach and arm yourselves. In the dark you were really at your enemy’s mercy.

That’s often how we feel when we are waiting expectantly, hopefully, earnestly for God to make something happen in our lives. The foundation on which we wait has to be trust. Trust in God’s character. Trust in His word. Trust in His promises. We do what we can to resolve some problems, but there are some where we just trust God for His word.

Your Heavenly Father loves you. He’s promised to take care of you. Everything He brings your way, the good and the bad, is given you in order to draw you closer to Him and trust His promises. Hard as it is to wait, waiting is easier when we really learn to rely on God to see us through the darkness and into the dawn.

PRAYER: Father God. I confess that I’m a lousy wait-er. I want answers and I want them now. I get impatient and don’t understand why you won’t answer me. Right now I’m in a very dark place in my life. I have issues with my relationships, my finances, my health, my faith. I need to see some light. Empower me by your Spirit to endure the darkness and draw close to you. Keep me safe until the dawn. In Jesus name, Amen.


I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. Psalm 142:2

“I just wish he’d listen to me and not try to fix everything!”

Ever heard someone say that about someone else? Maybe they’ve said it about you? Or perhaps you’ve said those words yourself either out loud or in your mind. There are times when life seems so overwhelming and unbearable that we just need to speak our mind. We don’t need grammatical correction or advice or solutions. We just need to talk.

The problem is that as humans we have this little part of our brain that says we need to fix everything and heal everyone. The spot tends to be larger and more pronounced in the male brain but everyone has it!

It may be when a friend is going through health issues or has lost a loved one. It happens when moms, in particular, send the oldest child off to school the first day with tears in her eyes.  It can happen even during those times when you can’t put your finger on what’s bugging you but you just need to cry. Life happens and there are times when solutions, advice and judgment are unneeded, unwanted and out of place.

During one of the times when David was on the run from King Saul he hid in a cave and wrote what we know as Psalm 142. In reading the entire Psalm we read the words of a man distraught and full of all sorts of emotion. He was angry. He was afraid. He was tired. He was no doubt lonely and confused as well. But in the midst of his turmoil he remembers that there is one person he can go to when he needs to be heard.

The same is true for us today. There will be times when no one understands. There will be times when you don’t want to talk to people because you don’t want to risk getting a boat load of unwanted advice, judgment, solutions or stories about how someone else had “the same problem and they tried…”.

That’s where God comes in. It’s hard to think of God giving you His undivided attention. First of all, you can’t see Him (although He sees you from inside out). Secondly, we get this idea that with all the ‘big things’ going on in the world, He’s far too involved with wars, earthquakes and disease to be able to listen to you. (That by the way is a lie straight from Satan himself)

Your Heavenly Father never sleeps. He’s never out of touch with your needs, wants, desires and emotions. He is always available to listen and, even though He does have all the answers, He will simply listen to your words, your heart and your thoughts without judgment.

What an awesome promise to take with you today. When you fail, He supports you. When you win, He cheers for you. When you cry, He listens and holds you close.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I thank you for the promises that you have given me that you will always be there for me. Thank you for understanding me when I don’t understand myself, for listening when no one else will listen, for encouraging when life is discouraging. Help me to remember that I can always come to you without fear of being ignored, judged or scolded. Amen.


You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7

He was caught red-handed. There was no way out. He was without excuse, without defense, and, in a word: GUILTY. He’d tried other hiding places. He’d tried to cover-up his weakness. He’d tried to blame others. But nothing worked.

As King David looked back over his life he remembered a time when he wallowed in guilt and pain. He describes his pain. His whole body groaned with agony. He was losing sleep. He was beaten and bruised emotionally. Perhaps it was shortly after the whole affair with Bathsheba. No doubt the guilt was based on the affair itself, the murder that followed and finally being exposed for the sinner he was and the death of the baby he’d fathered illegitimately.

As he sits down to write Psalm 32, David likely describes his feelings as he went through this most difficult time of his life. As he relives the pain he remembers that in the midst of his failure, his place of refuge was the very one who he’d failed: God.

It was his faith in God and God’s willingness to forgive his sin that brought David the healing his aching emotions needed to continue on. Consequences still had to be endured. There would always be scars and always be those who would remind him of his failure. But during those times he knew he could always run to the waiting arms of God for comfort, safety and salve for his wounded soul.

The same is true for each of us as we travel life’s journey. We will encounter those times when our soul groans within us. We may try to escape the pain. Some have tried drugs and alcohol or other addictive behavior. Others have tried new relationships, different careers or playing the blame game to cover their own pain. But nothing works. Often, if not always, attempts to heal ourselves only add to the pain.

Life events can leave us battered and bruised, wounded and scared and seemingly unable to go on. That’s when Jesus becomes our perfect hiding place. It doesn’t matter if the wounds you are enduring right now are a result of your own poor choices or the evil acts of another person. Nothing in this world can soothe the wounds we encounter in life like the healing salve of Jesus’ unending love and forgiveness.

David yearned for the peace and contentment of honest living. He longed to be able to return to a life without fear, without lies, without the shadows of his past constantly haunting him. He found relief in the same place each of us can, in the arms a loving and forgiving God. He earnestly waits for you to come to him.

PRAYER: Holy Father. You know I didn’t sleep again last night. You know the agony and pain my body is in. I’m tired of running. I’m tired of trying to hide in places that only further reveal my failure to follow you. Please forgive me for the times I’ve refused to follow you and chosen my own way. I’ve hurt others, I’ve hurt myself and I long for the healing I can only find in you. Help me this day to hide in your arms of love, forgiveness and healing. Amen.

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