Your righteousness reaches heaven, God, You who have done great things; God, who is like You? You caused me to experience many troubles and misfortunes, but You will revive me again. You will bring me up again, even from the depths of the earth. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again. Therefore, I will praise You with a harp for Your faithfulness, my God; I will sing to You with a lyre, Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to You because You have redeemed me. Therefore, my tongue will proclaim Your righteousness all day long, for those who seek my harm will be disgraced and confounded. (Psalm 71:19-24)
Hope catapults us forward. We can trust God, not for specific outcomes we want, but always for the promises of redemption, reconciliation, and provision. We see how God has worked in our lives and place standing stones of testimony, remembrance, and hope. When we know God, we know hope. When we know God, we can claim who He is and trust His faithfulness.
But we must know Him. We must pursue Him. We must proclaim and praise Him.
They encourage each other in an evil plan; they talk about hiding traps and say, “Who will see them?” (Psalm 64:5)
Encouragement can be helpful or hurtful, constructive or destructive. It gives people courage to do something, even if that something isn’t positive.
What kinds of encouragement are you giving others?
What kinds of encouragement are you inviting and allowing others to give you?
Now it is not an enemy who insults me—otherwise I could bear it; it is not a foe who rises up against me—otherwise I could hide from him. But it is you, a man who is my peer, my companion and good friend! We used to have close fellowship; we walked with the crowd into the house of God. (Psalm 55:12-14)
The distance between people who have never been close rarely feels as far as cracks and chasms that grow between people once close to each other. The latter might be minute in comparison to the former, but it can feel overwhelming, isolating, and painful.
When distance grows, we feel betrayed. Not always, but it’s strongly possible we’ve had something to do with the betrayal (and distance). Even our reactions can influence the crack-soon-to-be-chasm. We can’t change what someone else does, but we can certainly choose how to respond to it.
When friends betray us, we don’t have to betray them. It might be wise to keep our distance, but we can choose respect, forgiveness, and compassion, even if it’s in our attitudes and conversations that have nothing to do with direct communication with them.
When friends betray us, we don’t have to betray them. It’s easier to build a bridge over a crack than a chasm.
Only God can be fully forgiving, compassionate, and cleansing. Only He is blameless. He desires our integrity. He restores us. When we trust His authority and claim His character and promises, then we are able to receive His fullness.
The first step is an honest plea:
Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithful love; according to Your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion. Wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me. Against You—You alone—I have sinned and done this evil in Your sight. So You are right when You pass sentence; You are blameless when You judge. Indeed, I was guilty when I was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me. Surely You desire integrity in the inner self, and You teach me wisdom deep within. Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones You have crushed rejoice. Turn Your face away from my sins and blot out all my guilt. God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not banish me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of Your salvation to me, and give me a willing spirit. Then I will teach the rebellious Your ways, and sinners will return to You. (Psalm 51:1-13)
Lord, my every desire is known to You; my sighing is not hidden from You. (Psalm 38:9)
It can be daunting to think that God knows our every desire. We might not mind Him knowing some of them, but every single one? Yet such intimacy also brings relief. To glimpse His ability to know every sigh we take, even the ones undetectable to others and unnoticed by us.
Troubles of this world, will wither up and die
That river of tears made by the lonely, someday will be dry
There’s gonna be, a great rejoicing
There’s gonna be, a great rejoicing
Questions of this world, someday will be known
Who’s robbing you of peace, and who’s the giver