Several of my friends are really hurting right now. Life hasn’t turned out the way they’d hoped. Their current circumstances are anything but what they want. For some, depression has set in.
Their reactions are varied. Some are mad — mad at God. Others are sad, so sad that they’ve lost hope. They’ve lost hope that things will ever change; and in the loss of hope their hearts feel very, very sick. God said it would be that way:
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12).
Their struggles are overwhelming. If I’m not careful, their struggles generate fear of how I will feel and respond if such sadness were to overcome me. I long to fix their circumstances, to relieve their struggles, to make things ok. But I can’t. Basically, I can just listen and pray.
But there is One who has suffered in every way and He has something to say. This One is Jesus:
“This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
He’s called a man of sorrows. He knows what it’s like to be rejected. He knows what it’s like to be despised (Isaiah 53:3).
Unlike us, He signed up for it. He willingly did it, for He knew His suffering would make it possible for the glory of God to reside in us (Hebrews 2:10).
This One — Jesus — has something to say. No one in history has suffered more, yet He gives us words of hope. He spoke about there being blessing, satisfaction, spiritual prosperity, joy and even happiness amidst anything we endure. His Word speaks of it often. Jesus even gave a specific list (Matthew 5:1-12), but I’m not going there today. I’m going to one overarching verse. It’s a truth I hope I’ll heed every day:
“Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, the one who meditates on His Law day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).
To our future hurting selves, and to anyone hurting now who can bear to listen:
I hope we’ll grab every available moment to meditate on the Word of God — to take every word and think it through to all its implications for life (from The Songs of Jesus, Tim Keller). I hope we’ll meditate on it until its implications take us to a place of hopeful delight. I hope we’ll study and fill our minds with what God says, and pray in such a way as to tell God that we are clinging to and depending on Him for everything He has promised.
I hope we’ll cry out: “Lord I believe; help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
I hope we’ll take every thought captive and make it obedient to what God says is true (2 Corinthians 10:5). I don’t want our feelings or the circumstances to determine what we believe.
I hope we’ll form a tribe of people around us who will speak truth to us. Agreement with our feelings, but not truth-based emotions, may be comforting at the time, but it won’t contain the power of Scripture. That power that can set us free (John 8:32).
I hope we’ll do everything we can to draw near to God. He’s made a promise we can cling to: “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
There was a second phrase to Proverbs 13:12:
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Psalm 1:3 spoke the same truth of those who meditate on and delight in God’s Word:
“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.”
Today and in that day, let’s long for what God says we can have. Let’s believe Him for it and stand firmly on it, enabled to do so because we meditate on and delight in His Word.