THE WORD: The Believers’ remedy for suffering and despair
Published 3:23 pm Thursday, October 25, 2018
“My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me? Why are thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning?” Psalm 22: 1 RSV.
Recently, I experienced a life-changing perspective while on a trip assisting the victims of Hurricane Florence in neighboring North Carolina. This brief trip allowed me to observe up-close the realities of the catastrophic damage of flooding which left so many families literally suffering and in despair because of the devastation.
Many families had been so negatively impacted for such a long period of time that suffering and despair seemingly hung in the balance. In preparing for the distribution of the truck load of cleaning supplies and household goods that we delivered, the Association of Churches’ moderator asked me to give words of encouragement to the group of about 80 plus residents who had gathered.
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My spirit led me to Psalm 22 whereby David pleaded with God because of his suffering. In verse one he declares, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
He complained that God seemed so far from helping him and had not heard the words of his groaning. David tells God that he cries in the daytime and nighttime and God hears him not. v2. Moreover, he reminds God that Israel’s fathers had trusted in him and when they cried unto him, they were delivered. v4,5.
An interesting observation about this Psalm is that this is the David that penned the 23rd Psalm, whereby is found the proverbial encouraging verses, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want; He makes me to lie down in green pastures.”
Now, seemingly David reverses his claims about the goodness and mercies of God. However, we find that ultimately David’s actions are not indicative of his initial accusation of God forsaking him. At the onset, one would think that David is running away from God. But in continuous reading we find that David actually runs to God as the solution in his time of despair.
In verses 19 and 22, he decides that continuous praise and adoration to the almighty is the ultimate remedy for suffering and despair, which brings comfort in one’s life. David encourages the believer who finds themselves dealing with suffering and despair to unashamedly evoke praise unto almighty God in the midst of the congregation and to those around them v22. David gives assurance that the Divine inhabits the praises of his saints.
Oftentimes when long term suffering evolves into despair and life seems hopeless and unbearable and even basic resources are not available, one still can be encouraged to know that no matter how bleak the outlook in life and deplorable circumstances can be, the remedy is still to retreat to God and unashamedly praise His Name. Why not praise Him today?
REV. DR. JAMES TAYLOR is pastor of Jericho Baptist Church in Farmville, his email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.