GOD AND SUFFERING
Holy Spirit, my Comforter, sometimes the suffering in this world overwhelms me. Comfort my heart today as I meet with You.
Read Psalm 91
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
a Psalm 91:1 Hebrew Shaddai
b Psalm 91:14 That is, probably the king
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat trials are you facing today? This year?
Why does a good God allow so much suffering in the world? The depth, the extent, the pain of so many could overwhelm us. And yet, if you scratch below the surface, there is tragedy in every life. Can these words provide comfort, even to the terminally ill (6), or in a war zone (5)? Verses 9 to 13 could be unhelpful if used carelessly. But overall this psalm expresses God’s great care for us in the midst of our pain.
Read the psalm again, but this time applying it to Jesus. How would He have read this psalm? Harm and disaster (10) certainly came His way. He suffered tragedy and deep, deep pain. And yet it was not without purpose: in the very act of His death He crushed the head of the serpent (13; Genesis 3:15). And it was for us – it was so that sinners like us could rest in the shadow of His Father’s wings (4). The cross doesn’t tell us the reason for all the hard things God allows into our lives. But it leaves us utterly certain that God cares, and cares deeply for us. The God whose faithfulness can be our strength in the battles of life (4) can be trusted (2).
Take time now to place before God each of the difficult things in your life. Then give Him your “plan A” and “plan B” and give Him the right to carry out His plans in your life.
My King, You are “my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (2).