Today I’ve been overwhelmed by the dizziness that flits into and out of my life randomly. Many times I have no other symptoms and I can’t always trace it to a cause. This is yet another way chronic fatigue and chronic illness keeps me grounded – it can be so unpredictable. In times like these I’m reminded of just how much I live and breathe by the grace of God. We all do. The author of Psalm 119 pleads for sustenance in the stanzas we’re studying today. So, let’s dig in.
Samekh & Ayin (Psalm 119:113-128)
As stated, the common thread throughout these verses is a pleading with God. The Psalmist cries out for sustenance, rescue, and discernment as well as calling on the Lord to act. Whatever the Psalmist’s circumstances, it fits well with those of us who have a chronic ailment. I pray regularly for sustenance – Lord, satisfy and sustain me through this next hour, or, through this next __________. My prayers aren’t always answered with deliverance from the physical consequences of pushing through chronic fatigue/illness. But, like the Psalmist, I believe in pouring my heart out to our loving God. I like how Matthew describes how much our Heavenly Father loves us:
“Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” – Matthew 7:9-11
I have been blessed with very loving earthly parents who have bent over backwards many times to care for me. If our fallen, insufficient selves can love so deeply, how much more deep is our Heavenly Father’s love for us! As such, whether or not the Lord answers in the way we seek assistance, we are assured of a loving response. And, as all parents know, sometimes love is tough. What is more, though, is that the time spent pouring our hearts out to God is a priceless treasure (v. 127), which ultimately brings us the deliverance we’re seeking through a closer relationship with the Lord.
Also found in these two stanzas of Psalm 119 are a pair of striking verses that direct us toward a specific truth of God’s promise and the depth of His love:
“My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise. Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes.” -Psalm 119:123-124
Unlike the Psalmist, we don’t have to wait for the promise in v. 123 to be fulfilled. Jesus is that salvation. Furthermore, in sending Jesus to be the atoning sacrifice for our sin, God demonstrates His steadfast love (v. 124). It is only through God’s deep love for us that He extended mercy to us, for, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).”
How does this pacify the soul that is pleading for sustenance, rescue, and deliverance? Because as children of God, we are released from the standards of this world and free to accept God’s calling on our lives (Ephesians 2:8-10), which, in my case, includes chronic fatigue/illness. When we live with our eyes open to God’s provision, we see that He does supply abundantly (Ephesians 3:20) and we can trust Him so as to be contented in all situations (Philippians 4:11-13).
Remember, it is the Enemy’s goal to keep us from living freely in Christ, twisting our thoughts to defeat and despair. But, if we are in Christ, we stand in victory. This is a truth that can not be taken away, yet it is one that I am only beginning to understand.* In fact, it is the essence of the spiritual battle all Christians will need to fight, often daily. It is why we are told in Ephesians to put on the full armor of God, grounding ourselves in the truth of His word (6:10-13).
Friends, we can handle the unpredictability of our chronic ailments because God does not leave us in our toughest moments (Romans 8:35, 37). Rest in knowing that the peace of God surpasses all understanding. With resolve then, let’s take everything to God in prayer and let His truth pour into our hearts (Philippians 4:6-7). May His words be more precious to us than gold, than fine gold (Psalm 119:127).
*I’ve been learning how to more thoroughly embrace my freedom in Christ by accepting my true identity in Him. Neil T. Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness is the first book in a series my husband and I are going through and it has been profoundly helpful.