Sunday, April 13, 2014

When the bottom falls out

Help, God—the bottom has fallen out of my life! – Psalm 130:1 (The Message)
Has the bottom ever fallen out of your life?
A job layoff. A death. A wayward child. A broken relationship. An unwanted divorce. Sudden or chronic illness. A diagnosis of mental disorder. Insurmountable financial challenges. Addiction – yours or that of someone you love. Your most cherished dreams go up in smoke.
You wonder if God hears your prayers, knows of your pain. You question if there is a God – one who cares what you’re going through. One who has the power to change things.
Like the psalmist you cry, “How long, O Lord? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” (Psalm 13:1–2)
Then you feel guilty for talking to God that way or like a failure because you don’t have enough faith for your prayers to be answered. Your hope is dried up, like the old bones lying in a desert wasteland described in Ezekiel’s vision.
Take heart. Even Jesus, as He hung dying on the cross, cried, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:35)
Think of how Mary and Martha felt when they sent for Jesus with the message, “The one you love is sick,” and He didn’t come for four days. By then their brother Lazarus’s body was rotting in the tomb.
We’ve all been there, haven’t we?
I love what I call the “but factor” in the psalms. There the psalmist is, pouring out his heart to God – his anguish, frustration, pain – and halfway through the psalm, he says, “But . . .”
“But” is a word of transition, a signal a change is about to take place, a contrast to what was said previously.
But I trust in Your unfailing love” (Psalm 13:5), “But I pray to You, O LORD” (Psalm 69:13), “But God” (Psalm 64:7), “But I call to God, and the LORD saves me” (Psalm 55:16) . . . are just a few examples of the “but factor.”
Pore through the psalms yourself, looking for the hinge verse where the psalmist turns from despair to hope.
“Is anything too hard for the LORD?” El Shaddai asked Abraham (Genesis 18:14).
“Nothing is impossible with God,” the angel told Mary (Luke 1:37).
I like the way the song “God Likes to Work” by Karen Peck and New River puts it: “God likes to work when your back’s to the wall, when facing the battle and you’re just about to fall; so there’ll be no mistaking when He blesses and fills – God likes to work when nothing else will.” (Click on the song title to go to You Tube to watch and listen to Karen sing this beautiful song.)
Has the bottom fallen out of your life? Don’t despair. God’s hands are there, waiting to catch you.

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God! (Psalm 42:11).

Special-Tea: Read Psalm 130; John 11:1–45; Ezekiel 37:1–14

FOR FURTHER THOUGHT:  Read and meditate on the following Scriptures

John 14:1
John 16:33
James 1:12
1 Peter 1:7
Matthew 19:26
Luke 1:37
1 Peter 5:7
Philippians 4:6-7
Jonah 2:2
Isaiah 48:10
2 Corinthians 4:16-17
2 Corinthians 12:9
Psalm 30:11
Psalm 33:20
Jeremiah 29:11
Romans 8:28
Romans 8:38-39
Romans 8:35, 37
Psalm 50:15
Psalm 34:4
Psalm 34:19
Psalm 34:18
Psalm 34:17
Proverbs 13:12
Psalm 30:5b

Have a God-filled week!

No comments:

Post a Comment