Psalm 4:1,4,5,8 says this in the English Standard Version,
“Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
4 Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.
5 Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.
8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
These verses came to mind as I read over Joni Eareckson’s note of thanks to us for our prayers to the Lord on her behalf. When I consider these verses, I feel challenged. It is arduous, especially when you are not feeling either physically or emotionally well, to be angry, but not to sin. It is difficult to ponder something that is bothering you and yet be still and silent. These things that God calls us to do are impossible in our strength. We cannot find peace by ourselves when our circumstances are troubling and upsetting. That is when we must realize that we have to put our trust in the Lord. He is able to give us the gift of rest, being quiet, and confident that He is working mysteriously in our lives even through the hardships that we face. Because we are frail and weak, it is the all the more reason why we need to cry out for God’s mercy. When we endure physical and emotional difficulties, it is not only that our bodies and psyche feel weak, but our trust in God feels faint. The Lord knows that we are but dust. Let us to pray to Him earnestly, and trust in Him.
We should be strengthened by these words of St. Paul from 2 Cor 12:9 (ESV) 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I am grateful for the example not only of Joni but of many of you who have faced hardships of many varieties, operations, daily chronic pain, or emotional turmoil and yet you continue to trust in God who is able to sustain us day by day. May we continue to look to the Lord for mercy, peace, and safety in Him. He will give us comfort and strengthen our souls.
Pastor Cedric R. Benner