“My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. Look upon my affliction and my distress…rescue me…for my hope is in you” Psalm 25:15-21
As I have written before, my grandmother kept a spiritual journal for over 60 years. Upon her death, I got them out of storage for fear that something would happen to them. The temptation became too great and I opened one and began reading it. I was immediately convicted that I was intruding on holy ground, eavesdropping on a sacred conversation, meddling in private pleas to her private God. I closed the journals and haven’t returned to them since.
When reading this passage today, I felt the same type of anguish from the author but without the conviction. God inspired David to pen this prayer of affliction, because He knew 3,000 years later we would be able to relate. The word affliction in the Old Testament is translated as ‘a state of oppression or extreme discomfort in the physical, spiritual, emotional or mental.’ God knew that like David we would plead with Him in our afflictions. I’m desperately looking for you God because I am stuck and trapped in my circumstances. He was well aware that we would feel like we were talking to His back and being ignored…Turn around and look at me Lord and give me some grace in my situation. He already knew that our emotions would afflict us more than the actual trouble…In addition to being trapped Father I feel as if I am the only one experiencing this. I’m sick of it…anguished in it…distressed by it! And just as if that wasn’t enough suffering he writes that the troubles in his heart have multiplied. I cannot help but to understand this as a cautionary tale.
When we are in a troubling situation, it is so tempting to recount everything that has ever gone wrong. It is human nature to view even blessings through the eyes of cynicism and pessimism. We keep score, we measure our lives against others, we multiply our troubles because the devil convinces us that we’ve been duped. He reminds our hearts of other times God allowed suffering. He brings to mind how others have it so much better than we do, multiplied troubles, kidnapped hearts, and hijacked minds.
That is why we have the Word as armor for our journey. It is written that we are God’s children, loved, and chosen. ‘How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God’ 1 John 3:1. We are told that while we will suffer on earth, we will never be apart from God’s presence. ‘And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest”’ Exodus 37:14. We are assured that whatever the evil one whispers into our hearts, God will shout victory in our spirit. ‘As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good’ Genesis 50:20.
God’s word is active, cutting right to the heart and breathing life where there seems to be death, hope where there once was despair. By getting in the Word daily the troubles of our heart will be met with confidence in God’s promises. We will be delivered out of our affliction by the perfect hand of God.
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