Faith in Trials; September 12, 2019


Psalm 116:10 I believed; therefore I said,
“I am greatly afflicted.”

This is another anonymous Psalm, but it is a powerful one indeed. From beginning to end it speaks of the experience of a faithful servant of God, and so calls to mind Jesus famous words, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) It also brings to mind Andrae Crouch’s beautiful song of testimony, Through it All. To me, this is the key verse to the whole Psalm. The NIV translation is confusing, and really makes very little sense. However, in the footnote they give an alternative that matches how the Japanese translates the original Hebrew: “I believed, even when I said, ‘I am greatly afflicted.’” Faith does not deny suffering, but rather says that God is greater than the suffering and is to be trusted in spite of it. Far too many people look at religion strictly from the viewpoint of “What’s in it for me?” By that they generally mean benefits in the here-and-now; they rarely have their hearts fixed on eternity. We have had people come to this church and say all the right words, going so far as to be baptized by immersion, and then when what they saw as their problems didn’t disappear, they disappeared. That’s not saving faith! A life following Christ is better in more ways than I could count than any life without Him, but it is certainly not without difficulties, even as Jesus said.

This certainly applies to me as much as it does to anyone else, as I’ve just had a strong reminder. My hernia surgery eight days ago was my first taste of general anesthesia since I had my tonsils out at four, and I don’t remember that. Also, laparoscopic surgery has much faster recovery times than conventional surgery, but that certainly doesn’t mean recovery is instant! Before getting on the operating table I was remembering that my father went directly from anesthesia to heaven at age 64, when his heart wouldn’t re-start after bypass surgery. I knew that my procedure was nowhere near that risky, but I still went through submitting myself, and my wife and ministry, to God. Waking up in the recovery room, I spent a good bit of time in prayer, in between sleeping, asking the nurses what time it was, and telling them my painkiller had run out. My progress has been steady since then, getting out of the hospital on the third day post-op, but I am still distinctly shy of 100%. All of that said, God has very much been with me, and I am grateful. My wife has been through several major surgeries, each more severe than what I just went through, and she lives with Parkinson’s Disease every day. She is an inspiration and an example to me, because like the Psalmist, her faith has not wavered in any of it. Like her, I need to demonstrate the reality of Jesus’ words to all who see me, rejoicing in Him whatever I am going through, so that many may be drawn to Him for their salvation and His glory.

Father, thank You for this Psalm, and for making it clear that I’m to speak on it Sunday. Guide me in organizing the notes so that it will be indeed what You are saying, and not just my thoughts on the subject, so that those who hear may be touched, encouraged, and strengthened in faith, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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