Psalm 71:20-21 WEB “You, who have shown us many and bitter troubles,you will let me live.You will bring us up again from the depths of the earth. Increase my honour,and comfort me again.”
This is the personal testimony of a person who knows and loves God, but has greatly suffered in their lives. The purposes of God for them have been very testing and have brought sorrow, questioning and fear.
This sufferer has a soft heart towards God, and has come through the suffering clinging to their Saviour. The troubles are many and often. The sufferer realizes that God’s purposes often lead through the dark valley and this is the way strength of faith is built.
This person has learned the futility of life and the inability of people to help, and the unreliability of anything outside the Word of God. Their mind and soul cling to Christ, the eternal Word. They have become strong because of it. As they fight against sin, they are given the power to overcome and get the victory over that sin and the troubles of life that come along with it.
The comfort of God is worth having and has overpowered all hurts and disappointments. This is the purpose of suffering. It is not about us, or the people around us, but about proving the power of the living Saviour, Jesus Christ. It is about faith and finding Him able in all circumstances to bring His people through. He may cast us down for a time, but will raise his people up to find comfort and a pace of honour in his kingdom. The fruit of faith is what pleases God.
Psalm 31:19-20 WEB “Oh how great is your goodness,which you have laid up for those who fear you,which you have worked for those who take refuge in you, before the sons of men!
In the shelter of your presence you will hide them from the plotting of man.You will keep them secretly in a dwelling away from the strife of tongues.”
The troubles pass and we find our refuge in Christ alone. The shelter of Christ is the only place to find succour and healing from the hurts of other people, and the consequences of our own sin. When others plot against the Christian to bring them down and show them up, the refuge of the cross is a sure retreat. The Christian can find the refuge from such negative things, as they call on the Words of God. To think of all that is laid up for those who fear God is supreme encouragement to the Christian believer.
The way of the world cannot prevail in the life of the Christian. As we further taste the fruit of the Spirit, the attractions of life become less and the desire to serve and influence others for Christ becomes stronger.
Let us be bold and strong, looking only to Christ. Then all our troubles and conflicts with sin, will be beaten in the power of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit will then dwell in us richly and bear even more fruit in our lives. The Christian is safe, with Christ their everlasting stronghold and protection against the carping of other tongues.
“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
Therefore will we not be afraid, though the earth changes, Though the mountains are shaken into the heart of the seas;
Though the waters of it roar and are troubled, though the mountains tremble with the swelling of it.
God is in the midst of her. She shall not be moved.” Psalm 46
There is no firmer promise than this and such assurance should give us mighty boldness to produce fruit to God.