“Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Bound in affliction and irons—
Because they rebelled against the words of God,
And despised the counsel of the Most High,
Therefore He brought down their heart with labor;
They fell down, and there was none to help.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces…
Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He brings them out of their distresses.
He calms the storm,
So that its waves are still.
Then they are glad because they are quiet;
So He guides them to their desired haven.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!”
— Psalm 107:10-14, 28-31
“Not only is all your affliction momentary, not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there.
But all of it is totally meaningful.
Every millisecond of your pain, from the fallen nature or fallen man,
every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that.
I don’t care if it was cancer or criticism.
I don’t care if it was slander or sickness.
It wasn’t meaningless.
It’s doing something.
It’s not meaningless.
Of course, you can’t see what it’s doing. Don’t look to what is seen.
… Therefore, therefore, do not lose heart. But take these truths and day by day focus on them.
Preach them to yourself every morning.
Get alone with God and preach His word into your mind until your heart sings with confidence that you are new and cared for. “
“… I saw something that I had seen countless times before: a man walking down the sidewalk toward the medical school.
But that was not all I saw. Though I had no idea who this man was, I knew he had a dramatic story, replete with personal struggles, broken relationships, and splintered self-worth. Taught by the world that he was an outcome of blind evolution, he subconsciously valued himself as exactly that: a byproduct of random chance with no purpose, no hope, no meaning except what pleasures he could extract out of the day.
Chasing these pleasures resulted in guilt and pain, which caused him to chase more pleasures, which led to more guilt and more pain. Burying it all just beneath the surface, he went about his day with no clue how to break the cycle, how to find true hope.
What I saw was a man who needed to know that God could rescue him, that God had rescued him. This man needed to know about God and His power.
Did he know?
Did he know that God loved him from the foundations of the earth? With a power far exceeding the immensity of the cosmos, He turned all His attention to creating that man and declared, “You are My child, I love you.”
Did he know that God made him exactly how He wanted, knowing each hair on his head and each second of his life? God knew full well that the hands He gave to this man would be used to sin against Him, that the feet He gave to this man would be used to walk away from Him. Yet instead of withholding these gifts, He gave him the most precious gift of all: His own Son.”
… Did he know?
Of course not. We have to tell him.”
— Nabeel Qureshi, Seeking Allah Finding Jesus
(See NabeelQureshi.com for more info.)
“This is not about me. It is about Him and His love for His children.
Now I knew what it meant to follow God.
It meant walking boldly by His Spirit of grace and love, in the firm confidence of everlasting life given through the Son, with the eternal purpose of proclaiming and glorifying the Father.
Now I had found Jesus.”
I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.
‘Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.
I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.
Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.
Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.
Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“‘Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.
These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”
— John Newton
“Often…we are disproportionately cast down because the suffering is shaking out of our grasp something that we allowed to become more than just a good thing to us. It had become too important spiritually and emotionally. We looked at it as our honor and glory — the reason we could walk with our head up…
We must relocate our glory and reorder our loves. Suffering almost always shows you that some things you thought you couldn’t live without, you can live without if you lean on God. And that brings freedom.
This doesn’t mean that if we loved God perfectly, we wouldn’t suffer. No — because those who love God well do and should love all sorts of other good things in this life, too. Jesus loved God perfectly but he was a Man of Sorrows, largely because he loved us so much. We should not take the Stoics’ advice that we detach our hearts from things. We must love many things — and when these good things are taken away, it will hurt. And yet, if we cultivate within ourselves a deep rest in God, an existential grasp of His love for us, then we will find that suffering can sting and cause pain, but it can’t uproot us, overthrow us. Because suffering can’t touch our Main Thing — God, his love and his salvation.”
— Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, T. Keller
“Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore.” — Psalm 86: 11-12
Matthew Henry to explain:
“1. For the operations of God’s grace in him, Ps. 86:11. He prays that God would give him,
(1.) An understanding heart, that he would inform and instruct him concerning his duty: “Teach me thy way, O Lord! the way that thou hast appointed me to walk in; when I am in doubt concerning it, make it plain to me what I should do; let me hear the voice saying, This is the way,” Isa. 30:21. David was well taught in the things of God, and yet was sensible he needed further instruction, and many a time could not trust his own judgment: Teach me thy way; I will walk in thy truth. One would think it should be, Teach me thy truth, and I will walk in thy way; but it comes all to one; it is the way of truth that God teaches and that we must choose to walk in, Ps. 119:30. Christ is the way and the truth, and we must both learn Christ and walk in him. We cannot walk in God’s way and truth unless he teach us; and, if we expect he should teach us, we must resolve to be governed by his teachings, Isa. 2:3.
(2.) An upright heart: “Unite my heart to fear thy name. Make me sincere in religion. A hypocrite has a double heart; let mine be single and entire for God, not divided between him and the world, not straggling from him.” Our hearts are apt to wander and hang loose; their powers and faculties wander after a thousand foreign things; we have therefore need of God’s grace to unite them, that we may serve God with all that is within us, and all little enough to be employed in his service. “Let my heart be fixed for God, and firm and faithful to him, and fervent in serving him; that is a united heart.””