“I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. ”
Psalm 31:7-9 (NIV)
“You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place. Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.” Psalm 31:7-9 (NIV)
When I was a teenager my parents bought property on Koshlong Lake near the town of Haliburton, Ontario. The Haliburton Highlands have a rugged beauty that is especially beautiful in the fall with the leaves of the trees wonderfully coloured in yellows and reds. The sight is spectacular.
I well recall one fall day taking our cedar stripped boat with a Johnson five horsepower motor on it and simply riding down the lake enjoying God’s creation at its best.
Unknown to me a storm was beginning to blow behind me and when I turned around to go back up the lake to the cottage the raging storm came howling down the lake. Angry waves smashed against the bow of the boat as the little outboard motor struggled to push the boat forward into the powerful waves.
Suddenly the motor began to lose power as a fouled spark plug caused the engine to misfire. The boat would surge ahead and then falter. Again it would power up and once more I would get my hopes up that I would make the cottage safely. Over and over the boat jumped forward only to stall and slow down again. It was a most harrowing experience and I breathed a sigh of relief when I finally pointed the bow of the boat into the shelter of our small bay and away from the fury of the wind and waves.
One of the problems in suffering is that we can be like my experience on the lake that day. We face into the problem we have and bravely make some progress. Then suddenly we stumble and falter in the course we have set. One day we say to the Lord, You “have set my feet in a spacious place.” Then the next day we cry out, “Be merciful to me O Lord, for I am in distress.”
We are embarrassed at our inconsistent outlook on life as we are on top of the mountain one day and tumble down into the depths of depression the next. We wonder how the Lord could love us and want us as His children when we seem so unstable in our outlook on life.
The Psalmist once wrote in Psalm 103:14 (NIV)
“…for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”
It is also written in 1 Samuel 2:8-9 (NIV)
“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor…
He will guard the feet of his faithful servants…”
We are to be encouraged in the knowledge that the Lord knows how feeble we are and how prone to despair. While we fear the storm the Lord is behind the scene working out our eternal salvation. Isaac Watts wrote well when he penned the following words.
I love my Shepherd’s voice: His watchful eye shall keep
My wand’ring soul among The thousands of His sheep:
He feeds His flock, He calls their names,
His bosom bears the tender lambs.