Hope in Suffering

“Oh, I’m so sad!” I told my husband who had just walked into the kitchen to Keurig his first cup of coffee one cold January morning. Naturally, and with a curiousness in his voice, he responded “Why are you sad? I replied, “I just finished reading the book of Psalms.” And without spilling his coffee he crooned out “Psalm Sung Blue” to the tune of Neil Diamond’s 70’s hit, Song Sung Blue.

We both chuckled and he asked me again, “Now, why are you sad?” Sighing, I said, “I didn’t want it to end!” I was totally smitten with the sacred songs and poems. Meant to be sung in praise, lament or with thanksgiving.

What I really didn’t want to end though, was how close I felt to God as I read about His faithfulness and goodness, and steadfast love especially as the Psalmist was facing times of heartache, fear, deep pain and sorrow.

The gist of the iconic Neil Diamond lyrics tells us that we’re all subject to the blues now and then and that when we sing a song while we are blue, the music is therapeutic, lifting us out of the blues of our pain and suffering.

And that’s what reading the Psalms will do for us when we are suffering through our pain and deep sorrow.

And we all will suffer. And that sucks.

I once sang a song called, Life is Hard, But God is Good. The chorus went like this:

Life is hard, the world is cold.

We’re barely young and then we’re old.

But every falling tear, is always understood.

Life is hard, but God is good.

P. Thum 1995

In the midst of whatever we are going through, the hardest of hards, the deepest grief, the unbearable pain, the cruelty of suffering, God is still good.

Our suffering does not change who God is and that is what I read in the Psalms. That is what made me not want to close the book.

I’ve suffered and I know you have to. It’s the hard of this life here on earth. The earthly home that is not ours as believers in Jesus.

If only we could take to heart this truth:

These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all, quite small and won’t last long. Yet this short time of distress will result in God’s richest blessing upon us forever and ever!

2 Corinthians 4:17 TLB

What would it be like for us us if we could see our sufferings as opportunities instead of obstacles? Opportunities to sing a song, that is sung blue “with a cry in our voice, and before we know it, we get to feeling good, we simply got no choice.” N. Diamond, 1972

Psalms Sung Blue

Here are a few Psalms to sing when you are blue, when you are in pain, when you are suffering:

Psalm 34:8 Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him. MSG

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble.” TLB

Psalm 55:22 Give your cares to the LORD, and he will sustain you, He will never let the righteous be shaken. NIV

Psalm 119: 50 This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. ESV

Psalm 114: 1 You are my refuge and my shield, and your promises are my only source of hope. TLB

Psalm 63:3 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. NIV

Excerpt from Jackie’s upcoming book, Relationship Goals: Growing your relationship with Christ. To learn more about Jackie click here

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