I don’t have time to be chronically fatigued/ill and keep house.
There isn’t enough of me to go around giving to others or committing to projects.
These thoughts have been churning through my mind lately. I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel torn by life’s responsibilities and God’s opportunities. Even if you don’t suffer from a chronic ailment, I’m certain you’ve had similar frustrations. The author of Psalm 119 knew the feelings of being strained and drained, too. Let’s look into how.
Kaph (Psalm 119:81-88)
Oh how often I feel dry and fragile, of little use – “shriveled like wineskin in smoke (v.83).” I tell myself I’m waiting (v. 81), but many times I’m “straining to see” some sign of peace or deliverance from the Lord (v. 82). The Enemy is keenly aware of these moments, especially when the moments become hours or days. We’re told in Ephesians not to give any “opportunity to the devil (4:27),” who “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).” If we’re not careful, then, these moments can become extremely dangerous. Discouraging thoughts of “what ifs” and “if onlys” take our minds off of God’s mighty hand and lead us to believe that we’re in control, that if we try harder it’ll all work out.
Its so easy for me to pick up that burden and believe that micromanaging my day will help. This chain serves as the smoke to my wineskin, smothering me into despair. I cry out to God, like the Psalmist, “When will you comfort me (v. 82)? How long must I wait (v. 84)?”
The key to this discourse is crying out to God. God does not want us to seek Him with well-rehearsed or fancy words. He craves for us to pour our hearts out to Him, to be real with Him. In our raw emotion to God, He can feel our desire for Him. This is when the Holy Spirit can be very effective because our hearts are open and willing to receive Him.
Lamedh (Psalm 119:89-96)
This stanza begins with such certainty in God’s power – like balm on an open wound or the ointment that restores shriveled wineskin.
Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants.” -Psalm 119:89-91, ESV
The Lord is forever; His Word is final. These strong and well-established truths are what we can use as anchors to our faith. Being securely anchored in our faith we have victory in all things through Jesus.
More and more I find myself viewing life through the victory-lens of Jesus. To combat the churning thoughts of frustration or despair, I run to time in prayer, specifically reciting verses that speak of our power through Jesus to overcome this evil world, letting the words seep into every fiber of my being. This is the only way I’ve been able to be joyful, hopeful, and thankful despite my chronic fatigue and chronic illness. I could view all that I’ve lost through these circumstances as tragic, but I don’t. Instead, I’m exceedingly grateful to God. Verse 92 says, “If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in misery (emphasis added).” When life was seemingly falling apart all around me, I had a choice: trust God in His infinite – and often unfathomable – knowledge or suffocate like wineskin in smoke, dying in my misery. I desperately prayed – and still pray – for a receptive heart. Indefatigably faithful, God breathed new life into the depths of my soul.
When we let God transform our hearts and minds, it is truly awesome. The Bible itself – the very Word of God – as the Psalmist writes in verse 93, gives us life. Friends, let’s allow our victory in Jesus to wash over every moment of our days. Cry out to Him as often as needed, dive into prayer, pour over God’s Word. There is the sweet ointment for our dry and crumpled souls.