What Troubles Breed
By: Denise Pass © 7/2/14
Psalm 66:10-14, 16-20
:10 “For You, O God, tested us; you purified us like silver. 11 You led us into a trap; you caused us to suffer. 12 You allowed men to ride over our heads; we passed through fire and water, but you brought us out into a wide open space. 13 I will enter your temple with burnt sacrifices; I will fulfill the vows I made to you, 14 which my lips uttered and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble. 16 Come! Listen, all you who are loyal to God! I will declare what he has done for me. 17 I cried out to him for help and praised him with my tongue. 18 If I had harbored sin in my heart, the LORD would not have listened. However, God heard, he listened to my prayer. God deserves praise, for He did not reject my prayer or abandon his love for me!”
I love the Psalms and love the fact that the Psalmists often wrote songs about their trials and relationship with God. I wrote a song based on this verse back in 1990 – just a worship song between the Lord and me. At the time I thought I knew what hard times were. That is not to say that I had not suffered through various difficulties, but compared to another significant trial that would come, let’s just say that I now understand testing and refining in a whole new way. Nonetheless, God used the song in my life then and it is precious to me now when I reflect on what God has done through hardship in my life and the lives of countless others.
Troubles have the potential to precipitate accusations against God and to initiate questioning of His character. Notice I say potential. Why would He allow evil into our lives? This verse is pretty blunt about God allowing it in. But later we see God heard and answered the prayer of the afflicted one. I chuckle when I see in verse 13 the Psalmist referring to a vow that he made when he was pressed hard. Ever made a promise to God? Best fulfill it. The Psalmist turned the occasion for complaining into an occasion of praise and crying out to His God. Struggles turned to praise.
Our flesh can be quick to get angry with God when hardships are let in. Such a response can come from a prideful stance in which we do not think we deserve hardship. What do we think we deserve? Certainly not the grace and forgiveness God has so freely given. Adversity can stir up ire without understanding, but thankfulness can quell that fire.
Our viewpoint of hardship could also possibly be in error. We consider discomfort and pain as evil, and assuredly they are not fun, but the fruit that can be produced from them is a beautiful sight to behold. Seeing calamity as having a greater purpose than the temporal suffering ignites hope in the future good that our Sovereign God is going to produce from something insidious.
The harvest of what God can breed from troubles can be bountiful, multiple and varied. Looking past the momentary pain and gazing into His Word and promises brings relief. Hang on, dear friend, God has plans for you and hears your cry.
Lord, help us to not allow disillusionment, bitterness or hopelessness to creep in when things are less than ideal. Produce a life of righteousness in us as we yield to Your will and plan in all aspects of life, good and bad.