Thursday, January 10, 2013

Many a Time

 1Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say:
 2Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me.
 3The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows.
 4The LORD is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked. 
(Psalm 129:1-4, King James Version)

Many a Time

As we continue our series from the Psalms, called "First Love," Psalm 129 continues with in a rather somber tone. The Psalmist cried, "Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth." This appears to be no minor affliction, for the writer continues in verse 3 with the words, "The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows."

We make joke, when getting up in the morning, saying, "I feel like I was run over by a Mack truck," but the afflictions of the Psalmist were such that he was, indeed, run over by that Mack truck, and was still alive to tell about it. He was speaking of afflictions that left him raw, maybe not physically, but certainly emotionally.

What happens in our nice, well ordered Christian life when everything seems to fall apart? It is easy to happily serve the Lord when life is running by smoothly, but what do we do when life becomes nightmarish obstacle course?

I am in my sixth decade of life, and am really beginning to understand some of the familiar "age" sayings, like, "Life is wasted on the young." One thing I have noted, as I observe those who are 10 and 20 years my junior, is that they are generally not prepared for the age-related maladies of the body. Having gone through those glorious 20's and 30's, they somehow think that their bodies will feel that invincible throughout their entire life, even though they know that is not true.

Then, as I observe those decades older than me, I notice a different attitude. They do not necessarily expect to have an ache-free, pain-free day. When asking how they are, they might respond, "Not bad considering someone at my age." (That was a favorite saying of a dear friend who passed away in his late 80's.) Being interpreted: I hurt, my legs wobble when I walk, and I can hardly get up and down.

As I read these verses from the Psalms, I realized that the Psalmist, being used to affliction, perhaps even from his enemies, rose above those afflictions and said, "Yet they have not prevailed against me." He continued with, "The LORD is righteous: He hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked."

Oh that we would have that comfortable familiarity with the Lord, so that we would not become undone by the afflictions coming our way! Does God not see our troubles? Why does He not intervene? In truth, that is exactly why afflictions come. God wants us to understand that He is greater than our troubles; He is always right there beside us sending help and comfort our way, even though we may not realize it. The afflictions that God allows to come into our lives are there for a purpose: to mold and make us more like Him.

As iron sharpens iron, and as the chisel in the hands of the sculptor removes the unwanted material, so God sharpens us, and removes the sludge from our lives and hearts caused by our sin. Through the years, the saint of God is sanctified more and more so that he or she becomes more like Christ. Old things are passed away, and all things have become knew. As our eyes are lifted off ourselves and the things of this world, they are lifted to heaven above causing our hearts to yearn to be with Christ.

Many a time in this life we will face troubles and afflictions, but God will not suffer us to experience more than we can bear. He will walk by our side, comforting, leading, and guiding us, so that our life with Him becomes more and more precious.

Lord, hasten the day when our faith will be made sight!

God Bless You,

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