Not long ago, I suffered a disappointment that left me feeling down, depressed, and fragile. I so desperately wanted to go away by myself and be left alone, but my circumstances wouldn't allow it. Those around me made some effort to understand what I was going through, but it was obvious that they just didn't "get it." Instead of letting me have some time to myself to regain my strength, they asked even more of me than they usually did.
I cried out to God for help, and I began voicing my complaints to Him. "Don't they get it? I'm hurting now. I'm feeling fragile. I need some time to myself!" The truth is that I wanted some time to brood. Do you know what brooding is? If you look the word up in the dictionary, you will find words such as "sulk," "mope," "agonize," "fret," and "worry." One definition is "to think deeply about something that makes one unhappy." Yes! That's exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to think deeply (not just casually) about the things that were making me miserable. How stupid is that? Yet, that's how I felt at the time.
I sought the Lord in prayer with an open Bible, and as I asked Him to speak words of comfort to my hurting soul, He led me to David's words in Psalm 62. Verse 3 leaped off the page, into my heart: "How long will you assault me? Would all of you throw me down - this leaning wall, this tottering fence?" (Psalm 62:3 NIV) Hallelujah! David "got it." He knew what it was like to go through a painful time, and to feel fragile as a result. I marveled at the idea of this formidable, fearless soldier who defeated the giant, Goliath, feeling like a "leaning wall" and a "tottering fence." And suddenly, I didn't feel so alone in my misery.
I thought of David feeling "assaulted" by those around him when he was at his weakest point. Here was the man who God Himself called, "a man after My own heart." (Acts 13:22 NIV) How did he handle himself at a time like this? I got my answer in verses 7 and 8. "My protection and success come from God alone. He is my refuge, a Rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust Him all the time. Pour out your longings before Him, for He can help!" (Psalm 62:7-8 TLB) When David felt assaulted by the circumstances of life and by other people, his first instinct was to turn to the Lord, to pour out his heart to Him, and to place his trust in Him. And I knew that if I wanted to come out of my trials victorious, I was going to have to follow his example.
The Bible says: "Only the person involved can know his own bitterness or joy - no one else can really share it." (Proverbs 14:10 TLB) The truth is, we can't expect others to sympathize and empathize with us and our situation the way we want them to. Placing unreasonable expectations on others, including our closest loved ones, will only serve to make us angry and resentful, and in the end, it will drive them away. The only one who has the power to put himself in our place, and to feel our pain for real, is Jesus. And that's a good thing, because the fact is that He is the only One who can offer us the kind of help we need.
Scripture assures us: "Inasmuch then as we [believers] have a great High Priest who has [already ascended and] passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith and cling tenaciously to our absolute trust in Him as Savior]. For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin." (Hebrews 4:14-15 AMP) As one commentator put it, "We can turn with confidence to the God-Man, Jesus, who knows our frame, who wept human tears, and bore our sorrows, and was in all points tempted as we are, and who has taken His human experience with Him into heaven."
You are not going to find a better listener than Jesus. You aren't going to find anyone else who cares and understands the way He does. Even when our problems are caused by our own stupidity, it's Jesus who is standing by ready to comfort, console, and guide us. And it's He who has promised to work all of our troubles together for our own good. (Romans 8:28)
So how do we respond to all this? We heed Scripture's admonition, which says: "Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God's gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment]." (Hebrews 4:16 AMP) Glory to God! As followers of Christ, you and I have the privilege - and responsibility - to approach God with boldness and confidence, and to have a reasonable expectation to receive His mercy, grace, and assistance - and the appropriate blessings, to boot.
When trouble strikes, when disappointment and despair are assaulting you, don't suffer in silence, or reach out to others for something they can't offer. Instead, turn to the only One who has the power, the wisdom, and the desire to help!
Prayer: Lord, when I face disappointment, difficulty, and pain, remind me to turn to You first. Deliver me from unreasonable expectations that would only serve to anger me, and to alienate me from others. Guard me from the tendency to brood or feel sorry for myself. When others are asking me for more than I can give during these times, speak to their hearts on my behalf, and strengthen me to respond according to Your will. Thank You that as I make seeking You my first response to trials and troubles, You will lift me up and give me victory as only You can do!
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