Trouble and distress have come upon me,
but your commands give me delight.
Your statutes are always righteous;
give me understanding that I may live.
Psalm 119:143-144 (NIV)
I recall an elderly preacher of the Gospel relating to me a story from his younger days. This man of God had a small boy about 4 years old who was very ill. One day the preacher took his son into his arms and held him close.
The child felt a lump on his father’s chest and investigated only to find a copy of the New Testament in his father’s shirt pocket. Pulling the small book out he held it up for his father to see and said, “Daddy, I love this book.”
The little fellow knew how much the Bible meant to his father and imitated his love for God’s wonderful Word.
In our verses today the Psalmist confessed to having trouble in his life and it disturbed him to be in the difficulties he was experiencing. The honesty of the writer is important to observe.
In modern Christianity many people are afraid to tell others that they are distressed with life. The teaching of various well known preachers is that Christians must always be happy, full of joy, and victorious over all of life’s troubles.
Already in Psalm 119 the Psalmist honestly confessed to much weeping as he saw the sin in the world around him. So this inspired writer of the Psalm knew how to respond to evil as he described tears flowing down his cheeks.
Yet, in the midst of “trouble and distress” he found a source of “delight” as he read God’s wonderful Word.
The Bible has been a remarkable source of comfort and strength to God’s people over the centuries. For example, some Christians quoted Scripture as they were being led to their death for being servants of the Lord.
Every minister of Jesus Christ brings the Bible to the sick patients in hospital and always uses Scripture to minister grace to those who mourn.
Perhaps it is only a verse or even part of a verse that is quoted yet the calming effect of biblical truth is well known by God’s people.
The request of the Psalmist in the last part of our verses today should be the prayer of everyone who suffers. All of us should begin our daily reading of Scripture with the prayer that the Lord Himself would grant us understanding of the passage’s message.
Approach your reading of Scripture today with a prayer like the one in our verses and the Lord will graciously attend you and “delight” you with His truth.