O For a Faith That Doesn’t Shrink “Wanted Alive” is Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, October 14, 2018
This is devotional thought number 7 in our devotional series titled, “O For a Faith That Will Not Shrink.”
Psalm 88 (NLT)*
1 O Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out to you by day. I come to you at night.
2 Now hear my prayer; listen to my cry.
3 For my life is full of troubles, and death draws near.
4 I am as good as dead, like a strong man with no strength left.
5 They have left me among the dead, and I lie like a corpse in a grave. I am forgotten, cut off from your care.
6 You have thrown me into the lowest pit, into the darkest depths.
7 Your anger weighs me down; with wave after wave you have engulfed me. Interlude
8 You have driven my friends away by making me repulsive to them. I am in a trap with no way of escape.
9 My eyes are blinded by my tears. Each day I beg for your help, O Lord; I lift my hands to you for mercy.
10 Are your wonderful deeds of any use to the dead? Do the dead rise up and praise you? Interlude
11 Can those in the grave declare your unfailing love? Can they proclaim your faithfulness in the place of destruction?
12 Can the darkness speak of your wonderful deeds? Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about your righteousness?
13 O Lord, I cry out to you. I will keep on pleading day by day.
14 O Lord, why do you reject me? Why do you turn your face from me?
15 I have been sick and close to death since my youth. I stand helpless and desperate before your terrors.
16 Your fierce anger has overwhelmed me. Your terrors have paralyzed me.
17 They swirl around me like floodwaters all day long. They have engulfed me completely.
18 You have taken away my companions and loved ones. Darkness is my closest friend.
When You Have to Search The Word
Seldom do we quote entire chapters from the Bible, but this time it is appropriate. There are times in each of our lives that we are so depressed, lonely, and in despair, that only God can help us. Friends, as nice as they may be, cannot help us. Loved ones, as caring as they may be, cannot help us. Coworkers, as committed as they may be, cannot help us. When we get so far down in the dumps that death, darkness, and intermittent doubts become commonplace in our thoughts, we have to lay it all on the line and cry out to the One faithful, true, and living God (Blessed be His Name).
In verse 11, the psalmist poses a serious question. He asked if dead people can proclaim God’s faithfulness. He was telling God that the trials he was experiencing could very well lead to death, but he was of more value to God alive than dead. The dead cannot praise God.
I find this intriguing. It would seem to me that most desponding people would welcome death. Death, in those circumstances, would seem to be a welcomed rest. But the psalmist found death to be out of the question. Despite his weakness and repeated questionings, the psalmist continued to cry unto the Lord. He never gave up. David never stopped communicating with the Creator. He carried all of his fears, tears, doubts, and difficulties to God. That is the epitome of faith. Refusing to give up even in our darkest hour is what faith is all about.
If we are to develop a shrink-resistant faith that will not fail when tested, we must decide, that no matter how hard things get, we will not let go of our connection to our faithful God.