Week 9: What should we do in the midst of suffering?
By Yolandé Korkie
Ps 55:23 “Cast you burdens on the Lord and He will sustain you. He will never permit the righteous to be moved” (NIV)
The ability to trust God in the midst of personal suffering, especially when God does not answer our prayers, is something that Christians contend with everywhere. Despair, depression, exhaustion and even cynicism can set in and distract us from running the race with endurance. There is no recipe when it comes to handling suffering, and I can only briefly share scriptures which were pivotal during my season of difficulties.
In Ps 55:23 the word ‘cast’ suggests an action by the person carrying the burden. But the Hebrew also describes it as a flower being blown away from its plant by the wind – almost like a dandelion in the wind. This vivid picture demonstrates that it is not you who is doing the casting, but you should expose yourself to the wind and allow it to blow the burden from you. This relates to Jesus’s teaching in John 3:8 where He says that the wind blows where it wishes…and so it is with everyone born of the Spirit. Here the Holy Spirit is compared to the wind – which we cannot control – but to which we should expose ourselves and allow Him to carry away our burdens.
Ps 51:17 speaks of a “broken spirit”, “contrite heart” and “thanksgiving as a sacrifice”, all being vital components during a season of suffering. Although loss and devastation during suffering are realities, the fact that thanksgiving as a sacrifice forms part of this scripture speaks volumes. In the midst of suffering, or in the aftermath thereof, thanksgiving feels like the last thing on one’s mind, but giving thanks during trying times can truly become a sweet-smelling sacrifice unto Him.
Reflection: How can a ‘broken spirit’, ‘contrite heart’, and ‘thanksgiving’ be regarded as sacrifices as mentioned in Psalm 51:17? How do such things benefit God? How do they benefit us?