Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Talking and listening

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
      and why are you in turmoil within me
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him
     my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:11)

I wonder sometimes if many of our problems come from spending too much listening to ourselves and not enough time spent talking to ourselves. Facing troubles and difficulties in life, it is hard not to get discouraged and downcast. It is easy to start listening to those thoughts that tell you that things will never get better or that God cannot use your circumstances to mold you even more into the image of His Son. Forgetting that we serve a God who suffers with His people in their affliction, who uses suffering to accomplish His purposes and who redeemed us by the suffering and death of His Son, we convince ourselves that suffering is an intrusion in our life, an enemy, an outsider, something to be rejected and expelled as quickly as possible. We forget that it was through suffering that the Founder of our salvation was perfected (Hebrews 2:10) and so we hear our flesh telling us that glory is our birthright, not sorrow. Though Scripture always links suffering and glory, we seek to tear them asunder. We groan but it is not born of hope but of despair and sorrow. And when we do listen, we hear people who ask, “Where is your God? Why would God allow this to happen to you?"

The psalmist recognizes this pit towards he is being pulled. And twice in Psalm 42 (verses 5 and 11), he takes ahold of himself and speaks truth to himself. He reminds himself that there is hope, not in changed circumstances but in God. He reminds himself that there will be a day when praise will issue from his lips rather than groans. That his God is a God of salvation and deliverance, though that salvation may take him through the valley rather than around it. And he reminds himself that God is God and not himself; he is not the centre of the universe. Perhaps God has higher priorities than his own personal peace and comfort.

Don’t waste your suffering. You are where God wants you to be; right now.  So am I. Nothing has come into our life that does not pass first through His hands. Rest in that. And make sure that you talk to yourself more than you listen to yourself.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for such encouraging words. I am going through a very tough situation now and didn't know the will of God. But as I read your blog I have come to understand that I need to do a lot more talking than listening. I will wait for God in my situation and not think it a punishment or think He is not in it. The bible says, the step of the righteous are ordered by God so thank you soo much for being an instrument of praise and encouragement for God. I will speak those many quotation that are hidden in my heart to myself and encourage myself in the Lord. I will put my hope in God and not allow my soul to be downcast. I thank God for you and your family. May he continue to bring healing to your body. Receive the strenght of God in Jesus name... Silver and gold have I none, but in the name of Jesus, receive your healing! God be with you and thank you fo your encouragement!

Glenn Penner said...

Glad I could help, though you misunderstand me if you think that healing is always God's best solution to suffering. I am certainly not advocating positive confession in this blog.