You hear the emotion and distress in David’s words in Psalm 31 as he cries out to God:
Turn your ear to me… free me… redeem me….
Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak”
Then there is a shift.
The next words may not be the most flowery, but the choice to think them, declare them, and receive them makes all the difference in changing a sorrowful heart into a surrendered heart.
But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands.”
Consider the prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane as He awaited intense suffering and ultimately death. Jesus told His disciples,
My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.
My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will
Again, there is a shift even for Jesus Christ from feeling the human emotions inherent in living in a fallen world to choosing to release His human rights.
I know this is a heavy topic, but the devil is sneaky and likes to downplay our power to choose.
I experienced similar seasons of suffering. Have you?
Our suffering may not compare to the suffering Jesus endured on the cross nor does it mark the pages of scripture as David’s did, but it can overwhelm us in the same way.
When I was a young girl, my dad was killed in a head-on collision as we traveled home from vacation. My injuries from the car wreck healed within a few months, but my emotional and spiritual wounds took longer. I dealt with the loss the best way I knew.
I was comforted and loved by my family, but the older I grew, the more I noticed the disparity of my head knowledge of God and my restless soul. I believed in God and followed His commands, but I no longer trusted Him.
My lack of trust expressed itself in fear, anxiety, and lack of joy.
The devil was happy to keep me in the residual effects of my circumstances because I was not living boldly for God.
I thought my feelings were the logical way to feel based on my life experiences, but then I learned through godly friends that I had a choice.
We all have a choice.
I needed to choose to trust God with my life. I needed to choose to use my ink for God’s glory.
Will I let my hurts define my story or my Healer?
photo by physicsworld.com
As I started to believe the promises I carried around in my head, I began to know God more. My heart found rest, my fears subsided, and I found a stubborn joy not dependent on my circumstances.
Intimacy with Christ creates a heart open enough to see who God is, soft enough to accept God’s love, and humble enough to release our own preferences to trust God’s will and timing (see Ezekiel 36:26-27).
We can’t say Jesus prayers without having a Jesus heart.
No matter what we face, we have the choice to focus on our circumstances or on the power and love of our Savior.
This will be a daily battle and sometimes a minute-to-minute battle, but you are worth it. As you fight to keep your mind focused on God, God will create a pure heart in you that loves deeply and trusts Him intentionally. Out of this new heart comes prayers that say:
But I trust in you, O Lord. You are my God. My times are in your hands.