February 25, 2016

Psalms 38:9 All my longings lie open before you, O Lord:
my sighing is not hidden from you.

This verse brings to mind Jesus’ statement just before He taught His disciples what we call the Lord’s Prayer. “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8) We should never hesitate to be honest before God, because He knows the truth anyway! The more honest we are with Him and with ourselves, the better we can hear the Holy Spirit sort through our desires and tell us which are of Him and which are not. We tend to think either that God is some sort of Santa, showering gifts on us with no regard to how they will be used, or else that He is some sort of stingy miser, not wanting to risk our getting too happy. Both are gross distortions – and I mean that “gross” in just about every way it is used! Jesus assured us that the Father delights to give us what is best, (Luke 11:13; 12:32) but His gifts are always not just to make us happy, though they will do that, but to bless others through us and give Him glory. It is in that context that we need to be honest with ourselves and with Him about what we want. Sometimes our desire is to be relieved of some suffering, which is the context of David’s prayer in this Psalm. However, sometimes God’s response is what He said to Paul under similar circumstances: “My grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) When that happens, we need to receive God’s higher gift of grace, drawing closer to Him so that we may draw others with us.

I think this Psalm may be pretty close to my wife’s feelings in recent days, with all that she has gone through from her brain surgery. However, I’ve had similar moments. I have learned from experience that trying to hide anything at all from God is never a good idea. I have also learned that it is a very good thing indeed that He knows everything about us, because we don’t know everything about us! I have also learned the glorious truth that Paul expressed in 2 Corinthians 4:17. “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” As a pastor I deal constantly with people who are going through all sorts of stuff. The answer to their problems is always the same: yield it all honestly to God, let Him sort it out, and be faithful to do what He tells you. The problem is, often when I tell people that, encouraging them to take their eyes off of themselves and their problems and fix them on Jesus, (Hebrews 12:2) they think I am making light of them and their difficulties. Nothing could be further from the truth! There is no better or more complete solution to any problem at all than Jesus Christ. When we are fully submitted and secure in Him, nothing can harm us. (Psalm 91) I need to communicate that truth in all humility and assurance, from my own experience, so that others too may experience it and receive all that God has for them.

Father, I don’t have the wisdom to communicate this without coming across as preaching and/or being holier-than-thou. I ask You not only to place Your words in my mouth, but also to keep me from speaking just out of my own mind. May the words I speak consistently accomplish that which You intend, so that the lies of the enemy may be defeated and people set free, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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