The Distress of My Soul (Psalm 31:7)

A Boca do Inferno (The Mouth of Hell) Cascais, Portugal.  Photo by: Mark J Booth
A Boca do Inferno (The Mouth of Hell) Cascais, Portugal. Photo by: Mark J Booth

I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;” (Psalm 31:7)

Physical pain is a warning sign that something is wrong with our body.  The pain is screaming out for attention as though it is saying: “You have a problem, and you need to do something about it!”

Likewise, when we have pain in our soul (our innermost being), it is a warning sign that something is wrong.  The following problems can cause our soul to cry out in pain.

  • Sin in our life.
  • Lukewarmness towards spiritual matters
  • Resistance to God’s will
  • Selfishness
  • Emptiness within our soul
  • Confusion
  • An angry spirit
  • A great and heavy trial
  • Loneliness, etc.

Like our physical pain, we can tell others about the pain, but they don’t really understand.  The Lord God alone can feel the pain of our soul.  He alone can diagnose the pain of our soul.  Psalm 31:7 says: “Thou hast known my soul in adversities.”  God knows our pain. He knows when our soul is crying out in distress.  God wants us to pour out our heart to Him as we share the pain of our soul.

Not only does God know the pain of our soul, but He diagnoses the source of this pain for us.  How is this accomplished?  Hebrews 4:12 says: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

When we read and study the Word of God, God uses it to penetrate the deepest part of our soul.  An x-ray machine shows what is under our skin.  The Word of God shows what is in our soul.  It shows our sins, fears, doubts, sorrows, pain, hurts, anger, bitterness and many other trials and diseases of our soul.

The Word not only shows us the trials and diseases of our soul, but it also shows us the cure for our soul.  Are we experiencing the following ailments of the soul?  Have we tried God’s remedy for each ailment?

  • Sin? Confess our sin to God. (1 John 1:9)
  • A deep trial? Depend upon His grace (2 Corinthians 12:9)
  • An angry spirit? Yield all of our rights to God. (Matthew 5:5)
  • An overwhelming burden? Cast our care upon Him. (1 Peter 5:7)
  • Loneliness? Remember the presence of God. (Hebrews 13:5)
  • Bitterness? Forgive in our heart the offending party as Christ has forgiven us. (Ephesians 4:32)
  • Fear? Lean upon God’s perfect love because love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18)
  • Lukewarmness? Take time to enjoy deep communion with the Lord.(Revelation 3:20)
  • Confusion? Allow the Lord to direct our way. (Psalm 32:8)
  • Sorrow? Find joy in Jesus. (Psalm 30:5)

The Lord knows us inside and out.  He knows our heart.  When our soul is in distress, we know that he will hear our cry.  He gives us answers for the distress of our soul.  The pain in our soul is God showing us our need for Him in a certain area of our life.  He is ready to apply His cure to our aching soul.

“Dear Lord, my soul often experiences pain.  My words, actions, and attitudes cause much of the pain in my soul.  Other people can also create some pain in my soul.  Regardless of the cause, please show me the source of the pain in my soul and its cure.  I thank you that you are the Great Physician who heals all the diseases and troubles of my soul. Amen”

Prayers of Comfort from Psalm 37

Near Marshall, MI: Photo by: Mark J Booth

Trials are a part of every person’s life.  These trials can be self-induced or they can be caused by events beyond our control.  The question isn’t if we will have trials, but how will we face these trials.  Psalm 37 is written from the perspective of a man filled with trials.  God shows him the way he is to navigate through these trials.  Here are some prayers that go along with this very encouraging Psalm.  May God use Psalm 37 to help give direction and comfort to each of us.

“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.” (Psalm 37:1)  “Lord, I find myself filled with worry.  I worry about my walk with you.  I worry about my family, and the church.  I worry about my future.  I sometimes look at others and feel as though I am lacking something.  I also fret because evil seems to be gaining ground every day in our nation.  Help me to gain perspective upon the things that trouble me.  I need to grow in faith; so that I know in my heart that you are in control of everything.  I can trust you with my life and with what is happening in the world around me.  Amen”

“Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall thee the desires of thine heart.” (Psalm 37:4) “Lord, I often focus on my circumstances instead of focusing upon you. I forget to take delight in all that you are. Help me to focus upon all that you are and all that you do. May I delight in you today regardless of my circumstances. Amen.”

“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5) “Lord, I often want to chart my own course in life.  I look at my future from my perspective and not from yours. Why do I find it difficult to commit my way to you? Lord, you do know what is best for my life. Your love for me is beyond question.  For this reason, I need to commit unto you everything I do.  Help me to trust you regardless of what may happen in my life. Amen”

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” (Psalm 37:7) “Dear Lord, I often live in anxiety because I don’t place my burdens upon you. I often run ahead of you instead of waiting for your perfect timing. Help me, to trust you enough to allow you to work in and through my life.  In the midst of my busyness, enable me to stop and remember that you are right here with me. Thank you for allowing me to rest in your everlasting arms! Amen”

“Cease from anger, and forsake wrath:fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” (Psalm 37:8)  “My Lord, when I face difficult circumstances and people, I can easily become angry.  Usually I keep this anger within, but it does affect me.  It keeps me from pleasing you and ministering to others.  Thank you for your great example on the cross how you forgive those who placed you upon the cross.  Teach me to respond to others with graciousness and love.  Teach me to yield my rights unto you, because my anger is often a warning sign of some right that I haven’t yielded unto you.

“Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:24) “Lord, I have stumbled and even fallen many times in my life; yet, you are always there to pull me up with your loving hand. Help me to never let go of your hand as I walk through this life. Thank you for your great love in watching over me. Amen.”

“And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked,and save them, because they trust in him.” (Psalm 37:40)  “Thank you for the concluding words of this Psalm of comfort and guidance.  Thank you for the times that you have delivered me from myself and others.  Thank you for all that you are, because you are truly worthy of my trust.  I gladly commit my ways to you today. Amen”

P.S. I often write prayers with the verse that I write out in my Journible.  If you are interested in learning more about the Journibles, here is my post about this excellent Bible study tool.
https://markjemilbooth.com/2012/07/29/how-to-profit-more-from-your-bible-reading-the-journibles/

Moving Beyond Anger to Meekness

Elbow Lake in Alberta, Canada-Photo by: Mark J. Booth

Anger is a common human emotion that negatively affects us and others.  Anger often leads to emotional, social, spiritual and physical problems in our lives.  We would like to control our anger, but we constantly fall back into the same trap.

Anger is a choice.  We may blame others for our anger, but we can move beyond our anger and live a life of meekness.  Meekness is: “Yielding all of my rights and expectations to God.”  Whenever we become angry, it shows that there is an area in our life that we have yet to yield to God.  Here are three ways that we can move beyond anger and live a life of meekness.

UNDERSTAND GOD’S VIEW OF OUR ANGER

1. God’s commands us to put aside anger. Psalm 37:8 says: “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” Anger leads to wrath which leads to evil actions.  Anger destroys our Christian testimony. Our anger shows that we are defending our rights.  Our focus is not upon Christ, but upon ourselves.

2. God tells us that anger causes strife with others.  “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.” (Proverbs 15:18) Anger creates strife in marriages, in parent-child relationships, in friendships, in work relationships as well as church relationships.  Our anger is divisive and very self-centered.  This is the very opposite of love.

3. God tells us to avoid friendship with angry people.  “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.”  An angry person not only causes strife, but he also causes others to take up his angry cause.  Anger is like a contagious disease that goes from one person to another.  For this reason, we are not to develop close friendships with this type of person.

TRANSFORM YOUR ANGER TO MEEKNESS

1. Meekness is one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)  Anger is often the symptom of something seriously wrong in our lives.  When the Holy Spirit controls us, anger will no longer control us.   Meekness must come from the Holy Spirit because it isn’t natural for us to yield up our rights to God.  

2. Meekness learns to pass over a transgression against us.  When somebody wrongs us, we react in anger.  Yes, this is natural, but it is also very destructive to us and to others.   Jesus Christ said: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44) This is only possible when we yield the right to our time, possessions, reputation, etc. unto God.   Is this not what Joseph did in response to the treachery of his brothers?

3. Meekness remembers who we are in the eyes of God.   Angry people have an inflated view of their own importance.  We develop meekness when we look at ourselves from God’s perspective.  Paul didn’t become angry throughout his trials with others because he remembered that he was the greatest of all sinners, whom God saved.

4. Meekness is seen in the life of Christ “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5)  When Christ came to earth, he gave up many of His rights “  He would experience hunger, pain, rejection and eventually death.  Why did he do this?  Christ demonstrated meekness because He saw that His rights were much less important than His mission to die on the cross for our sin.

Our anger says that my rights are more important than ministering to others.  Where would we be if Christ choose not yield his rights?  When Christ prayed to the Father, he laid down his rights.  “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42) Can we say the same prayer?

FOCUS ON THE FRUITS OF MEEKNESS

1. We will enjoy God’s presence and teaching: “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.” (Psalm 25:9)

2. We will walk in God’s peace and joy. “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:11)

3. We will respond eagerly to God’s Word. “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21)

4. We will experience contentment. “The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him:” (Psalm 22:26)

“Lord, I find it easy to become angry with difficult circumstances and difficult people.  My anger keeps me from enjoying your presence, peace and power.  I need to learn to yield all of my rights to you.  Please help me to develop a meek spirit.  Thank you for sending Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who yielded His rights for my salvation. Amen”