Praise in the Darkness
Job is perhaps the greatest biblical example of endurance in hardship. Despite being a blameless and upright man, in just one day he experienced the death of his children and the loss of nearly all his possessions. Yet one of his first reactions was to acknowledge God’s sovereignty both in plenty and in poverty, in bringing joyful circumstances and in bringing grievous ones. As chaos, disappointment, and pain descended upon him, he shaved his head, put on his torn robe, and fell to the ground, not only in anguish but also in worship.
Remarkably, in the darkness of this pain “Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” Instead, in his tears, he trusted in God’s providence. In other words, he recognized that God knows what He is doing in every circumstance. God is worthy of our praise even in the hardest situations. Job knew that his times were in God’s hands (Psalm 31:15).
Most of us have lived through cries of anguish and pools of tears. We know how hard it can be to acknowledge God’s sovereignty and goodness in the middle of a storm. We wonder where He is. In our human response to pain, we’re inclined to find statements about God’s providence stale or clichéd—but they aren’t. In fact, with the passing of time or the changing of circumstances, we can look over our shoulders and recognize that there is no tragic situation that God has not sovereignly permitted. He allows all things to pass through His hands, and they do not take Him by surprise.
We must not make light of each other’s pain or offer easy answers. Instead, we are called to spur each other on to Christlikeness during times of hardship, reminding one another that God has granted us eternal life and steadfast love and that His care has preserved our spirits (Job 10:12). And, of course, we can look back in history and see that our God has entered the darkness of this world and plumbed the depths of suffering. He is a God who knows what it is like to be us. He is a God who has set before us a future where there is no pain or crying.
Even in the difficulties of life and the depths of pain, the fatherly providence of God permits all things for our good and His glory. He has proved that He knows what He is doing. For that, we can still praise Him in the darkness.
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
Why Have You Forsaken Me?
To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.
1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
3Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises1 of Israel.
4In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
7All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
8“He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
9Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother's breasts.
10On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother's womb you have been my God.
11Be not far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is none to help.
12Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.
14I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet2—
17I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
18they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
19But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!
21Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued3 me from the horns of the wild oxen!
22I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.
25From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26The afflicted4 shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the Lord!
May your hearts live forever!
27All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
28For kingship belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.
29All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30Posterity shall serve him;
it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
that he has done it.
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