Psalm 34:17-19 “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

Grief, pain, joy, sorrow. My emotions go up and down. I find myself emotionally, physically, and spiritually drained. First I bury one of my closest friends and YBL Board Chairman, Ronnie Norris. Then a week later I celebrate the 1st birthday and baptism of my grandchild, Mary Virginia. Then I return to Birmingham only to hear a dear Doctor friend lost unexpectedly his 24 year old son.

That doesn’t even cover what is happening in our nation. Charlottesville, riots and arrests, the flooding in Houston, scores of murders, kidnapping, and sex trafficking that are rampant in the USA. I see the damage and flooding brought by hurricanes. Our country is greatly divided. Violence, abuse, and crime are rampant. If you are not careful, we could begin to lose hope.

God, I know you have a plan, but what is it?  From where is all this hatred, violence, abuse coming?  Your Word declares it flows from a heart not committed to you; a heart of stone not replaced by a heart of flesh. It seems the effects of sin are growing greater and darker. In light of all of this:

I need thee, every hour, in joy or pain.

Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.

I need thee, O I need thee;

Every hour I need thee

O bless me now, my Savior

I come to thee.

– Annie Hawks

You are near to the brokenhearted, the crushed in spirit. You are ever looking to bless and uphold the righteous.  You rejoice in your children, You seek those who worship You and You exalt those with a humble heart. You are good and You are sovereign.

In his book, Prayer: Does it Make a Difference?, Philip Yancey talks about 2 kinds of faith. One is the bold, child-like faith that Jesus highlighted. The other kind, Yancey terms fidelity, is a hang-on-by-the-fingernails faith against all odds, no matter the cost. Abraham, Joseph, and Job are examples of this faith. I find myself hanging on that same way.  I have a tendency to let go, yet I know thankfully God is holding on to me. Are you feeling or have felt that way?

Would you join me in this fidelity faith in the midst of difficulties, grief, pain, and a lack of understanding! Would you join me in praising our God who is good, loving, faithful, and sovereign? Would you bless others by your prayers, being present when they need you, and by looking for opportunities to witness and minister? “It is only when you look at this dark world through the lens of the existence, power, authority, wisdom, faithfulness, love and grace of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords that you see reality with clarity.”  -Paul David Tripp

Annie Hawks wrote the above hymn. After the death of her husband she wrote: “I did not understand at first why this hymn had touched the great throbbing heart of humanity. It was not until after, when the shadow fell over my way, the shadow of a great loss, that I understood something of the comforting power in the words which I had been permitted to give out to others in my hour of sweet serenity and peace.”   Look for God’s comfort, serenity and peace today. Rejoice in Him!