Psalm 119 is a beast–it is 176 verses long and divided into 22 sections (one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet). So I’m going to divide it up, and write about my observations from each section, and see how each can help me continue to walk the road less traveled. Today, the “Yodh” section:
Being the oldest sibling has its perks, but it also has its disadvantages. You’re the one who is supposed to be an example to your younger siblings. So you sit up straight, eat your veggies (I didn’t bend on that one), and behave while they get away with murder… well, that’s what it felt like at the time.
The author of Psalm 119 seems to relish being an example to other believers. Look what he writes in Psalm 119:74 as he’s going through a crisis:
Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
because I have hoped in your word.
All of us tend to react differently to stressful situations. For those of us who are following Jesus, how we react shows the depth and maturity of our faith. I’m not saying that there won’t be anger, sadness, and depression, but how we react to the situation and how we handle the phases of our suffering reveal to others the depth of our faith. The question for us is this: do we want others viewing us as an example of faith in times of suffering?
Immediately, two people come to mind who are examples in time of suffering. My late grandma Violet was one. In her 80’s, she cared for my granddaddy George over the final years of his life as a series of strokes robbed him of the vitality of his earlier years. Yet, I don’t remember one complaint… just a steady faith. She passed away earlier this year at the age of 102.
The other person is my mother-in-law. She’s been dealing with rheumatoid arthritis for years. She’s spent countless hours with her doctors, spent long periods in the hospital with surgeries and battling infections. Just walking is now a big effort for her. Yet, I’ve never heard her complain one time in the twelve years that I’ve known her. I know she’s had a lot of bad days, but you never hear about it. She is the example of what a true southern lady is and, more importantly, a shining example of faith in the midst of suffering. She is definitely a person that Christ followers can see and rejoice, because she hopes in God’s word made clear in Christ.
Who is someone in your life that, in spite of their suffering, brings you joy because of their faith?