October 30 - Hope in the midst of Suffering
Suffering comes to us all and one reason for our suffering is because of our sins. The psalmist says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray.” Again he asserts, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” The prophet Jeremiah also concurs with the psalmist, “I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of His wrath”, the reason for his suffering is because of the disciplining rod of the Lord.
When one is suffering, it is easy to be depressed. Jeremiah uses himself as an example and describes his own inner feelings of depression. He is driven into darkness with his flesh and skin wasting away. He is enveloped in bitterness and tribulation. He is like boxed in a situation with no hope of escape. When he thinks of his sufferings his soul is downcast; however, when he calls to mind the goodness of God, he has hope.
For all who are suffering and are in depression, what Jeremiah has called to mind is key: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, therefore I will hope in Him.” A slight turn of our mind from the present misery to the goodness of God can bring hope into our bitter soul.
When we receive hope, we can then wait for God and seek His face. Waiting in silent trust of the Lord means that we do not open our mouths to complain, it means that we are to examine ourselves to isolate the cause for our suffering. It means that we should seek God and ask Him about our situation, it means that we call on Him in prayer and turn back to Him. It means that when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us, telling us not to be afraid.
The Word of God is alive and powerful. It is the creative Word of God calling something out of nothing. His Word brings hope to our suffering. He is a God who speaks and we may live on what He says. As He anoints His Son with the oil of gladness, He can bring joy into your life again.
Are you suffering now? Are you in a state of depression? Look away for a moment from your situation and begin to look up to God. He is merciful and compassionate; He will not leave you nor forsake you. Wait upon Him in silence and stop your complaining. He knows and He will act. Examine your life before God and confess all your sins. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. Then you are ready to receive the oil of gladness from Him and leave the horrible state of depression. Rejoice in the Lord, please Him in everything that you do. When the Lord is happy with you, you will also be happy for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Ps 119:65-72 Lam 2:20-3:66 Heb 1:1-14 Prov 26:21-22