Comfort in the Sorrowful Psalms

One of the things that I love about the Psalms is that they are real.

Not just in the sense that I am holding a real book with real words. Or that that they are real songs that have been prayed and sung for many ages. But the fact that behind the song is a real person expressing real suffering, real questions, real joy, real sorrow, and real praise.

I am comforted by the fact that not all of the Psalms are filled with joyful praise.

This makes the Psalms relatable, because life is full of real suffering, real questions, real joy, real sorrow, and real praise. As I go through the different seasons of life, I find that I can put myself in the place of the psalmist, especially when my soul is cast down with many cares and burdens. Reading through the Psalms completely destroys the false dichotomy between suffering and being a following Jesus, even though we were told that we will suffer (John 16:33, 1 Peter 5:10). In fact, the Psalms show that the two are inseparable.

Even our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ cried from the cross,

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Psalm 22:1)

So it is okay to feel far from God.

For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. (Psalm 88:3)

And it is okay to feel troubled.

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? (Psalm 42:5a)

And it is okay to have questions.

The truth is that our feelings and circumstances do not change who we are in Christ, or even come close to touching the assurance that we have in God’s promises. Satan, the father of all lies, would like you to believe they do though. But, those feelings and circumstances do the exact opposite.

As we immerse ourselves in the word, we are pointed to the reason for our suffering, and redirected to the certain hope that have in Christ, that one day all of creation will be restored. For God has spoken,

I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips. (Psalm 89:34)

Our Father is true to His word. What He has declared will come to pass. And because of that, we will again praise Him.

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:5b)


A Singles Identity

It is hard to see singleness as a gift, I know. I did not see myself being single at the age of 32. But at the same time, I never saw myself becoming overwhelmed by my sin, and changed by the gospel of Christ, when I thought I had life figured out. So I pray that these words come to you with some weight of truth.

Being single and married are both encouraged in the bible (1 Corinthians 7, Ephesians 5, Colossians 3). Both are callings from God, but one does not lack any promise of God (1 Corinthians 3:21), nor makes you more or less of a Christian than the other.

In both cases we are chosen by God before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), saved by grace through faith in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), sealed and secured by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13), co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), and will be risen imperishable when Jesus comes again (1 Corinthians 15:52).

So for all of my brothers and sisters in Christ who also desire marriage and are struggle with being single, first know and acknowledge that marriage is a good desire, as God created marriage (Genesis 2:24). But we must be careful that our desires do not distort our view of God, or even replace God (Romans 1:20).

I’ve had many people tell me to just wait, and that God has someone special planned for me. He could, and just might, but we don’t know that for certain. We were never guaranteed a life of health, wealth, prosperity, and marriage. We will face struggles (John 16:33) and temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13), and sufferings (Romans 5:3). And I’m sure that someone could easily testify that those things do not stop at marriage. But those struggles are sanctifying you, and making you more like Christ each and every day.

We were never created to be defined by our relationship status, but by our identity in Jesus Christ alone, which is eternal, never changing, and never failing. God is using every moment, whether single or married, and whether we can see it now, for our good and for His glory. Our Heavenly Father cares for us (Matthew 6:26), and His plans are infinitely greater than our own (Proverbs 3:5-6).