Summer in the Psalms - Psalm 15
He Enters Into Our World by Jennifer Turner
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What do we do...
When we can't feel God's presence?
When we can't hear His voice?
When we can't trace His hand?
When we feel alone in our suffering?
This week, a dear friend of The Good Day is back again. Jennifer Turner, as you may remember, lives with her husband and three adorable children in the Charlotte, NC area. One of her greatest passions is speaking and writing about the goodness of God, His abundant grace and His redemptive love.
This time, she's sharing a deeply heartfelt story - not one from a season long past but one she's recently endured. I so admire her courage as Jennifer pulls back the curtain on her personal struggle with thoughts of suicide and how she now sees Jesus was there with her all along. She says,
I couldn’t feel God in that room. I couldn’t see Him at work. I couldn’t even recognize He was the “Something” that had nudged my husband to ride with me. But in my suffering, He was there all along. You see, God doesn’t just watch our suffering; He enters it.
The room was dim and cold, a reflection of my mind. In the darkness, I could see three recliners. Other women occupied two of them, and I was told to go to the third. While my new roommates slept soundly, I stayed awake the entire night, refusing to shut my eyes. Never had I felt so alone. Never had I felt so scared. Never had I wondered so deeply if God was there.
I was in a psychiatric emergency room. Stripped of all belongings, I felt like I was nothing more than a number. I halfway expected the police who patrolled the hallways to cuff me and take me to jail.
I had decided earlier that morning to end my life that day. Tired of living in a sea of regret, shame and tormenting thoughts, the only escape I could justify was just to die. In my mind, it would give my family a chance at a better life - a chance to have a nicer, smarter, prettier, more stable wife and mom.
My plan to commit suicide after I dropped my children off at school was thwarted by my husband, who had no clue of my intentions. “Something” just told him to ride with me that morning. As much as I insisted he stay at home, he refused.
After dropping off the last child, my husband asked me again if I was OK. It was then I told him my plan. Shortly after, we talked with my therapist who told me to go to the ER to get help. Reluctantly, I did just that.
So there I sat, wrapped in a white blanket, listening to people in the hallway scream and curse at nurses. Watching others sleep and wondering what had made them come in. Wishing life was different for all of us.
As I reflected on the events of that day, I was disheartened my plan went awry. “I could have never experienced THIS,” I thought to myself.
Yet there I was, dwelling amongst so many broken people. Broken — just like me.
I couldn’t feel God in that room. I couldn’t see Him at work. I couldn’t even recognize He was the “Something” that had nudged my husband to ride with me.
But in my suffering, He was there all along. You see, God doesn’t just watch our suffering; He enters it.
Let that sink in.
He doesn’t just stand there wishing He could do something. He is an active participant all along. Gently nudging, quietly comforting, always working.
In Psalm 15:1, David asks,
Lord, who can dwell in Your tent? Who can live on your holy mountain?
He answers this question this way:
The one who lives blamelessly, practices righteousness and acknowledges the truth in his heart - who does not slander with his tongue, who does not harm his friend or discredit his neighbor, who despises the one rejected by the Lord but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps His word whatever the cost, who does not lend his silver at interest or take a bribe against the innocent - Psalm 15:2-5
Reading that list, it makes me wonder, “Who can constantly do all those things?” The answer: None of us.
But here’s the precious truth: God doesn’t just enter into our suffering; He enters into our ordinary daily life and offers us hope. He became sin for us and, in doing so, became our hope. When an end feels like the only escape from our suffering, His presence intervenes with a simple question, “Are you OK?” It is up to us how we will answer this. Will we be vulnerable and let Him in? Often, God works through people. When we let others enter into our suffering, we are letting more of Christ’s love enter into our hearts and heal the brokenness inside.
While we should strive to live righteously in all things, here’s the reality: If it wasn’t for Christ, dwelling on God’s “holy mountain” would be impossible. Through Christ alone, we are never alone - in the deepest, darkest valleys or the highest, boldest mountains.
Now, It's Your Turn!
Before opening God's Word, take a moment to pray and ask God to meet you there. Then...
Read Psalm 15 a couple times. Highlight what stands out to you.
Circle verbs or specific wording you notice.
Then, write down a bullet point takeaway based on this. "I-statements" help make this personal. Think of this as a challenge statement.
God dwells in my life so I can dwell with Him.
Then, jot down a question or two to think about today. You don't have to have the answer to this question now. And yield to the Holy Spirit - prayerfully ask God to search your heart and lead you to more truth and grow your faith through the Holy Spirit.
In what areas of my life do I need to remember that God is there? How can this truth set me free?
Again, we don't have to be Bible scholars and talk only in the thou's and art's of King James version to read this book ...because when we pray before we read, we are not alone. The Holy Spirit is with us, guiding and teaching us.
Praise God for this!
And praise God for refreshment as we are intentional to spend a summer in the Psalms together, for if we want His truth to ever be on our lips, it must first be planted in our hearts.
Our strength grows as we rely on strength from above. Our joy grows as we see God transforming us from the inside out. Our peace grows as we spend time in God's presence, and we find rest when we intentionally seek the Lord first in our lives, for the Lord is ever our portion.
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!
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