Bittersweet

“Uphold me, and I will be delivered; I will always have regard for Your decrees.” -Psalm 119:117

Like the previous verse, this is another plea for help. The psalmist cries out for more of the Lord’s grace to carry him through all of life’s ups and downs. If his faith must be tried, the writer asks God to refine it in the flames. God keeps His children close to Him even when we are not aware of it. This is the beauty of how our Father operates. It isn’t based on our performance or small faith whether the Lord decides to extend compassion or not. His ocean of mercy is deep and wide. The psalmist prays this knowing God will deliver him. Because his hope is rooted in God, the outcome for spiritual protection is certain. The true believer perseveres (sometimes it feels like plodding) because God will always uphold him through whatever circumstances he will face.

It reminds me of the time Paul cried out in a similar way when he suffered multiple hardships. In his second letter to the church in Corinth, Paul writes of his trials thus far and how God had delivered him over and over. He writes,

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, Who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10)

I like how Paul’s faith declares God’s continued deliverance. The Christian life is not a free pass in exemption from suffering and temptations. When one becomes a believer, we sign up for more affliction, pain, misunderstanding and rejection (John 15:18-25). We taste of Christ’s sufferings temporarily on earth as we will taste of His glory one day in Heaven forever. The bitter becomes sweet in light of God’s promises.

Like Paul and the psalmist, we can confidently petition for the Lord to be near us in our own distresses.  Nothing is hidden from His sight, but especially a saint in distress. He hems us in, carrying His children in grace. God the Father is sure to uphold His children to the very end, teaching us to trust Him through His written Word.

Grace upon grace,

April

Growing deeper: Psalm 23; Psalm 139:1-10; Isaiah 40:27-31; 43:1-7; Lamentations 3:19-26

One thought on “Bittersweet

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