Psalm 116:10 I believed, therefore I spoke, "I am greatly afflicted."

Last Sunday, Marie and I had the privilege of attending Harbor Life Church in Gig Harbor, Washington, where we live. Tyson Lash, the pastor of this congregation, brought a strong and helpful message from the Book of Lamentations, a message focused on giving the people permission to grieve and mourn, and help in understanding how to do so in a way that actually brings comfort to the soul.

Through this week, I’ve reflected on that topic, and this morning’s reading from Psalm 116 brought another insight that seems profound to me. The Psalmist writes in verse 10: “I believed, therefore I spoke – ‘I am greatly afflicted.’” 

Here is a powerful understanding of true faith in the presence and goodness of God – the one who believes is the one who can truly be honest and real about the troublesome situations of life. The individual who knows God has the freedom to be brutally honest and transparent in the midst of dark days because he is firmly planted on the rock of intimate relationship with the Living God. No pretense in this relationship, no “putting on a game face,” no slight comfort here – my Heavenly Father is real, and true, and present, and good, and faithful. He has promised to me the sure mercies of David (Isaiah 55:3), which He enacted most powerfully in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (see Acts 13:34).

When faith is shaky, or when my perception of God’s character is inaccurate, I cannot afford to be real about difficult times. If my belief in a good and powerful God Who works all things for my good is not settled, then I am forced to pretend that all is OK, that I’m on top of things, and that hard situations don’t really bother me. Strong emotions get pushed down under the surface, with all manner of predictable and negative results. 

The Psalmist knows God in a different way than that. He knows that God’s mercy and love are unshakeable, permanent, and never wavering. The God of Psalm 116 is not subject to mood swings, nor is He impatient with His children when they acknowledge weakness in the face of difficulty. Rather, this God is the Father of our Lord Jesus, who faced the deepest and darkest pressures of the enemy, and emerged victorious yet compassionate.

As I write this, the song playing on my Pandora station is repeating this phrase: “I believe in God the Father, I believe in Christ the Son, I believe in the Holy Spirit – our God is Three in One. I believe in the resurrection, that we will live again, I believe in the Name of Jesus.” 

Because this is so, I can confidently speak about the realities of my life, knowing that I am loved, I am understood, and like my older Brother, I will emerge victorious. 

Gary Wiens, 3/24/2017