The Long Dark Night of the Soul Will Be Redeemed by God
8 By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
God pours out his love to us all of the time. By day we see His hand as He provides for our every need. He is involved in every aspect of our lives as we struggle in our daily lives. Even when we cannot feel His presence, He is there, just as a father is running behind a child learning to ride a bicycle without training wheels as the front wheel wobbles back and forth.
By night we experience His comfort as our souls cry out to Him. God tests us even as we sleep, yet still we seek Him out in song and prayer. This does not happen automatically. We must make every effort during our waking hours to instill this desire in our hearts so that at night, it will reveal itself in our subconscious wanderings.
Oppressed by Opposition
An old nursery rhyme says, “sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” This is given to children to counter taunts and jeers, but it is not accurate. Words CAN and DO hurt. And the enemy knows this well. Whether they try to attach a label to the focus of their wrath, or merely mock us as we go through our trials (many of which THEY have caused), the pain of enduring the trial is greatly amplified when God appears silent, and deliverance is not quickly forthcoming. This is especially true when the trial is prolonged and filled with physical as well as emotional suffering.
Downcast with Despair
The authors of this Psalm challenge themselves and us to ask ourselves a very important question: Why should our souls be downcast? Why should we be in emotional and spiritual despair? Is not our God YHWH, who exists eternally and is dynamically involved in our lives? Is God even able to break His word when He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you“? What part of our despair is based in truth given the Word of the Living God who says that we are more than conquerors through Christ? Or that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing? Or that He knows the plans He has for us to give us hope and a future?
The sons of Korah encourage us to put our hope in God our Savior. Let us not forget His benefits, His lavishing of love, grace, and mercy upon us. Let us breathe strength into our weary bones and emotional pain by remembering the Character and Nature of God and what He has done for us. Remember also that God has a tendency to come during the fourth watch of the night – at the very last second. Our faith is stretched and we grow when we are able to endure through the trial, especially when the devil and his demonic minions are hurling their insults, accusations, doubts and ideas of fear at us while his earthly minions are doing their best to oppress us and make us feel even worse.
It is never easy to wait for God. As we are standing and waiting to be delivered, God will often allow great difficulty into our lives. Let us not forget that we may even be called upon to bear His witness through isolation, torture, and even gruesome death. Yet Jesus has overcome death itself! We can be assured that regardless of the outcome, our hope in God is not misplaced. Patiently endure your trials so that God may be glorified.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask ourselves a question: Are we filling ourselves with God and hope in His promises as the devil and his minions are beating us up, having backed us into a corner, as we wait for God to deliver us?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, blessed be Your name forever and ever! It is always so difficult for me as I endure these trials. Help me to overcome them, Lord God, and to do so with joy in my heart. I know that You are never far from me, and that You are watching in expectation to see my faith grow. Why must this always be so painful? Remember me, Father, as my enemies lie about me to others, accuse me falsely, and seek to destroy my reputation and character. May I find strength in Jesus, that He has provided me with His reputation and His character. I know, Father, that my enemies don’t understand what they are doing. They, like all truly evil people, lash out at the loved ones of their true target to cause the object of their fury the greatest amount of pain. I pray, Father, that You would have mercy upon them and bring them to a saving knowledge of Your Son, Jesus Christ, that they would cease from bringing shame to You as Your image-bearers, and instead bring You the glory and honor that You so rightly deserve. Strengthen me during these trials that regardless of the outcome, my faith would grow and when Your Son comes in glory, that All would glorify Your name. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.