When fear or a sense of forlornness threaten to overwhelm us, Faith must arise and open our eyes to our “Faithful Friend Who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24).
Have you noticed how many of the psalms, which are truly “Songs of the Soul,” are mournful in tone and likely set to melancholy melodies? Even a cursory examination of them will reveal this to be true and how the composers had “bi-polar faith”—i.e., one minute up and the next minute down.
Advocates of the “health, wealth and prosperity gospel” won’t admit it, declaring that we should never be mad, sad or sorrowful—living instead in perpetual praise and spiritual power.
But, the fact remains that such is not the case here on terra firma, even among the most faithful Pilgrims who’ve ever lived.
True Christianity is authentic Christianity. Like Nehemiah, who “sat down and wept, mourned, fasted and prayed for many days” after hearing of the condition of God’s People and beloved City (1:3-4)—and was quite transparent in his sorrow even before the king (2:1-2)—so should we realize that there’ll be days when we, like the anonymous author of today’s Manna, will cry “Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?”
Like David, who wrote “My God, My God—why have You forsaken me?” (Ps. 22:1) and Jesus, Who quoted those words from the Cross (Mk. 15:34), there’ll be days when God seems M.I.A. (“missing-in-action”). And, it’s in those times that we, like Elihu in his response to Job, will cry “Where is God, my Maker, Who gives songs in the night?” (Job 35:10).
It’s in those times that we must “be still and know that He is God” (Ps. 46:10). We must “encourage (Heb. ‘chazaq’—‘to fasten upon, seize, strengthen, repair, become obstinate, bind, conquer, etc.’) ourselves in the Lord” (I Sam. 30:6) by “casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bring every thought into obedience of Christ” (II Cor. 10:5).
This will require serious “soul-talk” wherein we ask “Why are you cast down (Heb. ‘shachah’—‘to sink down, be depressed, bow down, stoop low, etc.’), O my soul? And why are you disquieted (Heb. ‘hamah’—‘to be in great commotion, tumult, rage, moan, war, clamor, etc.’) within me?” (Ps. 42:5a, 11a). Then, we must be militant and command ourselves to “hope in God and praise Him” (v.5b, 11b) by reminding ourselves that He is both the “Help (Heb. ‘yeshuw ‘ah’—‘deliverance, aid, victory, prosperity, etc.’) and Health of our countenance” (vv.5c, 11c). Hallelujah!!
Yes, it’s in those low times that Faith must arise and say “I am never alone—for my ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’ Savior is with me (Heb. 13:5b). Even when I sink down low, I shall arise—for ‘underneath are the everlasting Arms of God’ (Dt. 33:27). And, even when my troubles are about to do me in I shall still say ‘Though He slay me, yet shall I trust Him’ (Job 13:15).” Glory!! Do not fear, weary Pilgrim; it’s always the Christ of Calvary to the rescue!! Amen and amen.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated November 29, 2010