"As for this friend of mine, he betrayed me; he broke his promises."
- Psalm 55:20 NLT
Recently, when I was faced with heartbreaking news that was the result of some broken promises, I turned to the Lord for answers and relief. He led me to Psalm 55 (NIV), which helped me to acknowledge and sort out my true feelings in the matter. Here David, the poet-king, wrote, "My thoughts trouble me." The Lord helped me to realize that I was troubling myself with my own thinking. My mind was going strictly in a negative direction, and I didn't try to stop it. Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of the truth of God's Word in Isaiah 26:3 (TLB), which says: "He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in Him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord." If I was ever going to regain the supernatural peace that I knew was mine in Christ, even in the midst of turmoil, I was going to have to discipline my thoughts, and to make a quality decision to put my trust in God.
Psalm 55:4 says: My heart is in anguish within me." I've discovered that there aren't too many things in life that hurt more than the pain of disappointment. Things don't turn out like we hoped or planned. People we had counted on don't meet our expectations. The dictionary defines "anguish" as: "Agonizing physical or mental pain; torment." Our suffering can affect us physically, as well as mentally and emotionally. And that's why it's important for us to bring our wounds to God. It was a wise man who said, "Jesus can heal you everywhere you hurt!" Verse five of this psalm says: "Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me." When trouble comes, fear always comes along with it. And though we may be wrestling with a host of negative emotions, fear may be the most destructive. It can cause us to take our eyes off of God, and to fix them on our circumstances, or on other people. Once that happens, we can lose our sense of direction, and even our ability to hear our Good Shepherd's voice. One of the first things I do when I am struck with fear is to declare, "God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind!" (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV) If I have to, I'll say it to myself a hundred times, until my heart and mind get ahold of it and fall in line with God's truth.
David wrote: "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest." (v.6) David was feeling overwhelmed by his troubles, and he longed for an escape. It's natural to feel like we want to run away when we're hurting, but we have to be very careful that we don't run away from God. We can do this in a subtle way by allowing our pain to harden our hearts against Him. The Scripture wisely advises us: "Don't let your suffering embitter you at the only one who can deliver you." (Job 36:18 TLB) The moment I begin to sense bitter feelings creeping into my heart, I pray, "Dear Lord, please don't let me become bitter." Verses 20 and 21 of this psalm say: "My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant. His speech is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords." Broken promises can be some of the hardest things for us to bear. People can be cruel, irresponsible, and selfish. They may act one way to our faces, and another way behind our backs. God wants us to be "cautious" in forming relationships (Proverbs 12:26), but He does not want us to go through life with suspicious minds. We should seek God about our companionships, and we should count on Him to comfort and heal us when others wound us.
David wrote: "Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall." (v.22) The supernatural sustaining power of God is available to us if we will carry our burdens and bruises to the Lord in prayer, and refuse to carry them ourselves. The final verse of this psalm says: "But as for me, I trust in You." (v.23) If we don't want our pain to be wasted, we must place ourselves and our circumstances in God's hands, and refuse to strike back at those who hurt us. Then we can count on the Lord to turn all our grief into gladness and glory!
Prayer: Lord, when I'm faced with hurt and heartbreak, please help me to maintain a positive attitude. Show me how to use Your Word to arm myself against fear and doubt. Thank You that as I bring all my heartaches to You, and trust You to fight my battles, You will work everything out for my good and Your glory! (Romans 8:28)
- J. M. Farro