I admit that sometimes when trials come my way I have a difficult time praising God. At those times I’m too focused on myself and the issues surrounding my life. But at the same time, when I do make time to praise, I find that the issues I’m currently going through somehow don’t seem quite as bad!
The psalmist in Psalm 42 is going through horrible trials. He talks about crying constantly, and how people are mocking him about his beliefs (v. 3). Yet instead of starting the psalm with whining, he starts it with how he is longing for God to reveal Himself to him (v. 1). The psalm is interwoven with prayers, praise and longing.
As I read through Psalm 42, I remember back to when we lost our boys (How Can You Even Think You Can Make It Without God?). Although I certainly wasn’t praising God before that happened – because I didn’t know who He was – now I can praise Him when I read psalms such as this, because I know where I’m going when I leave this earth, and I know that I will see my boys again!
One of my favorite verses is Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (NIV). I remember at one point during those horrendous months of grieving that a sweet friend gave me a bookmark with that scripture printed on it. I cherished it, but during our moves over the years somehow it got misplaced. But I still remember and every time I hear/see that verse, I rejoice because I know that God desires good for me and not evil, and He has great plans for me – to prosper and not to harm me (Jeremiah 29:11)!
Psalm 119 has also spoken to me – because it reminds me that before knowing Jesus I used to wander off and do my own thing, but now I desire to know more about him all the time (v. 67, 71), and its given me such freedom! Because when I start to get down on myself for making the same old mistakes I remind myself that God designed me uniquely – according to His specifications – and He doesn’t make junk (Psalm 139: 13-16)!
After losing our boys, and then discovering the complications with Jeffrey, I remember one sweet man calling us modern day Jobs. No, not even close, but I have to say both Gary and I ended up combing through that book of the Bible in depth during those years.
After all that Job had gone through – and was still going through – how could he say in Job 19:25-27 (Amplified):
For I know that my Redeemer and Vindicator lives, and at last He [the Last One] will stand upon the earth. And after my skin, even this body, has been destroyed, then from my flesh or without it I shall see God, whom I, even I, shall see for myself and on my side! And my eyes shall behold Him, and not as a stranger! My heart pines away and is consumed within me.
Job had lost all the possessions he owned, his family, and was then afflicted with terrible painful sores (Job 1:13-2:10). To make matters even worse, his “friends” who came alongside him started saying very hurtful things to him (e.g. Job 2:11-13, 4:1-27,8:1-22, just to name a few instances). Yet Job knew, even though he had moments where he was lower-than-low and wanted to die (e.g. 10:1-22), that God was with him.
So through our times of pain and fear, let us try to fix our eyes on not what we see, but instead what we do not see (2 Corinthians 4:17-18), and let us cry out in praise to our great Father. We cannot understand all of what goes on in the heavenly realms, but God sees you in your pain, and He will reveal all to you at just the perfect time.