man-hands-in-face-crying-symbol-children-shot-in-ctSeveral of our families at Christos are experiencing an unusual level of suffering.  Perhaps you are one of them.  Or perhaps you’re grieving with them.

Hopefully this short devotional about our amazing God will be an encouragement.

One of the things that amazes me about God is that He chose to become vulnerable to pain.

Before the beginning…

We don’t know a lot about what existence was like for God before He made everything.  But we do know some…

  • From the creation accounts and other scriptures we see that He existed in 3 persons and one essence (Gen 1:1, Gen 1:2, Gen 1:26, John 1:1-3, Psalm 90:)
  • We see that He had glory (John 17:5)
  • We see that He had love (John 17:24)

But we also see that He knew exactly what it was going to cost Him to make us:

  • He planned on the sacrifice of Christ before He made anything (1 Pe 1:17-21, Eph 3:7-12, and also Acts 2:23)
  • He planned on choosing people for His own in Christ before He made anything (Eph 1:4)

That’s not all

The pain that God planned for Himself to experience so that He could demonstrate His love for us was most clearly revealed on the cross.  But He didn’t shy away from walking with us in the rest of our human experience.  One aspect of the law of love (Matt 22:35-40) is to ‘weep with those who weep’ (Rom 12:15).  We see Him do that at the death of Lazarus.  It’s just one example of how He cares for those who are hurting.  Consider these additional verses:

  • Psalm 34:18 says that God is “near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
  • Psalm 62:8 “Trust in him at all times, you people, pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
  • Matt 12:20 “a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory;”
  • 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

Take courage

The God of indestructible joy is also the God who cares for you and grieves with you.  He planned before creation to walk with you during this difficult time.

How…

Why not tell Him what you are thinking, and feeling, and wanting?  The Psalms can help…

…to help us faithfully endure these troubles, God gave us a very precious gift: psalms of lament. The Psalms are the prayers and hymns that God chose to teach us how to express ourselves to him in worship. They are God’s word and the prayers of men, as Bonhoeffer says. And about one-third of them are laments.

In these laments the writer pours out to God his sorrow (Psalm 137), anger (Psalm 140), fear (Psalm 69), longing (Psalm 85), confusion (Psalm 102), desolation (Psalm 22), repentance (Psalm 51), disappointment (Psalm 74), or depression (Psalm 88) either because of external evil or internal evil or darkness.

from desiringgod.org, “God wants you to complain”

And here are the words from an 18th century hymn called “Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul” (here’s the Spanish version: Dulce Refugio de Mi Ser).

1. Dear refuge of my weary soul,
On Thee, when sorrows rise
On Thee, when waves of trouble roll,
My fainting hope relies
To Thee I tell each rising grief,
For Thou alone canst heal
Thy Word can bring a sweet relief,
For every pain I feel

2. But oh! When gloomy doubts prevail,
I fear to call Thee mine
The springs of comfort seem to fail,
And all my hopes decline
Yet gracious God, where shall I flee?
Thou art my only trust
And still my soul would cleave to Thee
Though prostrate in the dust

3. Hast Thou not bid me seek Thy face,
And shall I seek in vain?
And can the ear of sovereign grace,
Be deaf when I complain?
No still the ear of sovereign grace,
Attends the mourner’s prayer
Oh may I ever find access,
To breathe my sorrows there

4. Thy mercy seat is open still,
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet,
Thy mercy seat is open still,
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet

You can find the music, chords, and other resources on this song at the Indelible Grace online hymnal.

For further study

The Psalms

Other chapters in the Psalms help us remind ourselves of the truth when we don’t feel like it, such as chapters 22, 42, & 103

A couple extra-biblical resources…