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Psalm 121

Posted on September 8, 2014 at 9:00 AM

“My daughter is pregnant.” The text about a friend’s unwed teenage daughter felt like a punch in the stomach. I was undone. I was also hopeful though; I know how God loves to take the most broken situations and turn them into the most beautiful. So I crafted a text back, one that I thought would be encouraging. After I hit the send button, I knew it was wrong. It was too formulaic, too light, not enough of me entering into her pain.


Have you ever been in a period of your life where it seems like every text, every email, every phone call you receive is bad news? Where it seems like everywhere you look there is real hurt and brokenness? Where the effects of sin seem to win over the effects of redemption, where life seems hopeless and discouragements seem endless? Where every “Christian” or “religious” phrase you know sounds empty and embarrassing?


Where do we go during these times? What do we do? How do we encourage others who are in the middle of these times?


It is essential to remember that we cannot fix each other. Rather, we can enter into each other’s hurt. We can sit in the dark with our friends. There’s nothing we can do to make the situation better, so we are free to stop trying to make it better.


“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” Henri Nouwen


When our friends are hurting or we are hurting, we don’t have to rush through it, we don’t have to pretend we know why this thing is happening, that we are bastions of divine confidence that it will all be okay, we certainly don’t have to fill the awkward and often painful silence.


However, when we do want to say something, when we long to look for words to encourage and soothe may we look to Him alone. In Psalm 121:1-2 the psalmist says,


“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made the heaven and earth.”


Where does our true and only help come from? From an event that happened thousands of years ago on that Golgotha’s hill near Jerusalem. On that hill our Savior endured a suffering that we shudder to think of. The maker of heaven and earth came and took on our body of flesh so that we might know He understands our suffering. We can be assured that “He will not let your foot be moved: he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (v.3). There is not a time when El Roi’s (the God who sees) watchful eye is averted from His loved ones. “The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day nor the moon by night” (vv. 5-6). There is not an instance where our Heavenly Father is unconcerned about our well-being. “The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore” (vv. 7-8). This promise is the promise that was withheld from Christ on our behalf. As He suffered on that hill, the Lord did not keep Him from all evil. He actually experienced all the effects of our sin all so that we could hear a resounding: “The Lord will keep you forevermore.” Christ heard silence as He cried out to God so that we could hear: “the Lord will keep your life.”


Where does our help come from? It comes from the triune God’s sacrifice for us and His eternal communion with us. In every doubt, in every fear, in every moment of anger, He promises to be at your right hand. He has already paid for all of your doubt and mistrust. God looks at you and sees the perfect record of His Son trusting the Father’s plan without fear or doubt. There is real pain in this life, but--praise God!--we have a Savior, a Rescuer, a Keeper that is ours forever.

Categories: Jessica Thompson

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