Our first child was born ten weeks premature and spent over forty days in the hospital. Those were some difficult days. Life had taken a turn I didn’t expect. In fact, it went in a direction I didn’t think was right. Each day was a new experience of confused agony as I watched his tiny body struggle for life.
After one exceptionally difficult day the church gathered for an evening of prayer. One brother after another held our broken hearts before the Father. Our tears fell like rain and we reached out to take hold of faith. But, would faith be strong enough to hold such a heavy burden?
At the end of the service I was asked to say something. I wondered if I would be able stand much less speak. All of a sudden the message of Psalm 73 flooded my heart. In an instant my eyes of faith saw a man named Asaph who wrote the Psalm. I could feel the pain he suffered. I shared his confusion. I understood his desire to shout out his doubts and frustrations. My aching heart cried out his words, “When I thought of how to understand this, it was too painful for me” (Psalm 73:16).
What echoed back was the faith that sustained Asaph. I listened to Asaph start the Psalm of pain with the bold affirmation, “Truly God is good” (:1). My momentary circumstances do not change the eternal nature of God. In awe I watched Asaph’s faith grab hold of his whining tongue and silence it before it hurt anyone else. He wrote, “If I had said, “I will speak thus,” Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children” (:15). I watched Asaph enter the temple of God where he learned to look beyond the present and consider the “end” of things when God will be proven just (:17).
So, with trembling hands I reached out to grab hold of faith. I stood up and faced my spiritual family. I steadied my emotions and rallied my courage. I raised my head, looked into their eyes and planted my feet firmly on faith. I said three words, “God is good!” A moment later I continued, “No matter what happens remember God is good.” Oh what a wonderful moment that was! My steps had almost slipped, but I discovered that faith sustains!
When life has you reeling from one blow of pain after another faith is strong enough to hold your burden. Turn away from your fears and practice these three acts of faith.
Declare The Goodness Of God. Don’t let your dark clouds keep you from enjoying the glory of the Son. Answer each pain with a glowing expression of God’s goodness. The flowers of God’s grace far exceed the thorns of this life.
Remember Your Understanding Is Limited. Constrain your tongue from continual complaining. Each shovel full of complaining only deepens your pit of despair. Replace the complaining with the contentment that you won’t know all the “whys” or “hows,” but you will be able to live with joy and purpose no matter what happens (Phil. 4:11-13).
Live In The Present In Light Of Eternity. For the faithful believer pain never has the last word! Death is never final. Suffering is never meaningless. Our destination is certain. Don’t let the bumps along the way shake you because our home is too good of a place to miss!
Sixteen years have passed since those difficult days. Our son Parker is now a smart, good looking, compassionate young man who loves the Lord and His people passionately. And yes, echoes of those early days still exist. Parker had a small blood vessel rupture in brain a few days after his birth. The blood flowed for just moments and affected his motor skills (a condition called cerebral palsy). He now gets around in a wheelchair.
Yet, now I know why Asaph chose to write about his personal, painful experience. He came to know that God is good when the thunder rattles the walls and when the sun illuminates the carefree days of spring. In fact, it is in those days when you shake you learn God alone is solid ground.
“As for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all Your deeds.” (Psalm 73:28)
“Let all that you do be done with love” (1 Cor. 16:14)