The Introit for this next Sunday is from Psalm 34: 18, 4-7, 17. It is one of those Davidic psalms, from the time of his running from mad king Saul, whom the LORD rejected. David is really king, but the LORD is testing him to see if he will take a shortcut and kill king Saul. After all, David IS the King of Israel. Shortcuts are the story of mankind: from Adam and Eve taking a shortcut because of the devil's seduction for them to become like God--really wanting to become a god, to you and me doing the same. We try to make a shortcut in life and ignore God's long game of testing us to see if we will trust in Him. And we blow it. There just is no way around life but through it.
But then we hear later in the same psalm: When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
God hears us our cries and delivers us, sometimes in this life, but ultimately, in the life to come. And the One who understands us the most is the One whose body and spirit were broken and crushed to deliver us from and on the cross, Jesus the Christ. He traded places with us to save us, so that we could receive all the blessings from His wounds. We are healed by His suffering and in His suffering He brings us so that our suffering is made whole in Him. We are forgiven because of His suffering.
And someday the suffering will end. But all of it is for our good and all of it He uses to bring us close to Him in order to receive His gifts and His strength for the day. He uses these tests and trials to guide our reliance on Him and His resources. The devil wishes to pervert and twist things so we believe we should not have such things happen, but they happen. To whom will we turn?
“I thank you, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.”