Suffering, Supplication, and Scripture

The songwriter had “chosen the way of faithfulness” (Ps. 119:30). He had opted for “the way of truth” (CSB, NKJV). Looked at his options and picked the path of fidelity to His God. Opted for “the true road to Somewhere” (MSG). So, how was that workin’ for him?

My soul clings to the dust . . . my soul melts away for sorrow . . .

(Psalm 119:25a, 28a ESV)

Hmmm . . . evidently the way of faithfulness is no guarantee it will bypass the way of heavy affliction.

But as I hover over the fourth stanza of the songwriter’s twenty-two stanza love song for the Word of God, I’m struck by how he reacts to a dust-clinging soul. Moved by his response, even as the heat of his current situation melts away his strength from the inside out.

He prays to the God of the Word. And desires the word of God.

My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to Your word!
When I told of my ways, You answered me; teach me Your statutes!
Make me understand the way of Your precepts, and I will meditate on Your wondrous works.
My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word!
Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me Your law!
I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set Your rules before me.
I cling to Your testimonies, O LORD; let me not be put to shame!
I will run in the way of Your commandments when You enlarge my heart!

(Psalm 119:25-32 ESV)

Whatever had put him facedown in the dirt, whatever had turned up the heat so much that he felt like he was puddling-up inside, even though the songwriter knew that God knew all the details, he still told the One who knows all things what was happening. Laid out his situation. Confessed his part in it (119:29a). Asked for God’s help through it.

And God answered him. How? The songwriter found that help in God’s word. That’s where he knew his help would come from.

He knew life would be found “according to Your word.” And so he cries out to God, “Teach me Your statutes . . . Make me understand the way of Your precepts . . . Strengthen me according to Your word . . . Graciously teach me Your law!” Only then was he confident that God would “enlarge his heart.” That God would free it up, would broaden what the songwriter knew to be true in the past, and make it wide enough to thrive in what he was enduring in the present. And then, says the songwriter, watch me run!

While the songwriter calls on God’s help through God’s word, he also “comes to the table” ready to do his part. I will meditate on Your works. I will set Your rules before me. I will cling to Your testimonies. And, because of the reserve I know I will find through Your revelation, I will run in the way of Your commandments.

Enduring suffering? Offer up supplication. Take in scripture.

Not to be too simplistic, or too formulaic, but I’m thinkin’ that’s how it works.

By His grace. For His glory.

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