No matter how optimistic you are, whether by nature or personal discipline, there will be seasons in life when the hardships of this world attack and take their toll. Ultimately, they will not defeat you; but when you are under the pressure, you will wonder if you are going to make it through.
This is a time in my life when many of the people I adore are experiencing unspeakable pain. I struggle to find words of comfort. If I was only concerned about my reputation, I could probably give them some cliché advice, pat them on the back, and send them on their way: but these are people I love. I feel their pain and have no desire to sugar-coat reality. Words lack the power to produce the needed change, so I pray to the One who loves them so much that He gently cradles their hearts in one hand and fights for their protection with the other.
Psalm 142 records David’s feelings as he faced a lousy season of his life. He was hiding in a cave. I imagine he wondered how life had come to this. What had he done to deserve this? Was it his fault that God chose him to be king? He didn’t ask for that. When King Saul was tormented by evil spirits, didn’t he willingly play the harp to soothe Saul? What more could he have done? When the Philistines and Goliath threatened Israel, didn’t he step up to the challenge? Didn’t he put his life on the line over and over again when he led Saul’s military campaigns? Yet after all of that, Saul’s response to him was one of ingratitude, jealousy and anger. David found himself on the run like a criminal even though he hadn’t done anything wrong.
“I cry aloud to the Lord;
I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out my complaint before him;
Before him I tell my troubles.
When my spirit grows faint within me,
It is you who know my way.
In the path where I walk life has hidden a snare for me.
Look to my right and see;
No one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
No one cares for my life.”
When life overwhelms us, we feel weak and empty. We feel alone, like no one has our back. We feel vulnerable. We desperately look around for someone who fully understands, but no one does. And when we come to our last drop of hope, we cry out to the Lord:
“YOU are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.
Listen to my cry,
For I am in desperate need;
Rescue me from this circumstance,
For it is too strong for me.
Set me free from my prison,
That I may praise your name.”
If you are struggling today, I pray that the Holy Spirit will convince you in the depth of your soul that God is your refuge, your sanctuary, your haven. He is the safe place to go for help, protection, and relief. He is your hope. And…He truly loves you so much that He is gently cradling your heart in one hand and fighting for your protection with the other.