8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Paul Harvey tells a story about a basketball coach for LaSalle University named Speedy Morris. Speedy was shaving one day when his wife called out to tell him he was wanted on the phone by Sports Illustrated. Speedy Morris was so excited by the prospect of national recognition that he nicked himself with his razor and ran with a mixture of blood and lather on his face down the hall promptly falling down the stairs. Limping and in some physical distress he finally got to the phone and the voice on the other line said: “For just seventy five cents an issue you can get a one year trial subscription….”
Speedy not only experienced physical pain with his fall but the emotional pain of disappointment, a pain familiar to us all. The word disappoint may sound benign, uneventful, and insignificant, that is until disappointment becomes personal. Disappointment is more than a benign word, it is an emotional upheaval that brings the daily events of life crashing down driving us inward into worry, anxiety and depression. Disappointment can come in many forms, grades, jobs, friends, loved ones and even in our selves. But as Christians we have the greatest reason for hope, we aren’t supposed to be sad, depressed or disappointed, we just rely on God in our times of despair and that takes care of it, doesn’t it? If it were only that easy! In the Psalms we are forced to come face to face with the real and often raw side of life, the ugly underbelly that we would rather paint over with a lovely yet unrealistic ideal of the Christian life. David was a man after God’s own heart, truly seeking to follow God yet at times it he experienced the messiness of life. He struggled as he tasted the bitter disappointment of life, an enemy you can’t just run from but who lurks around the corner ready to attack and sabotage.
Jesus understands the raw reality of pain, He endured the cross, carrying not only the physical weight but also the emotional and spiritual heaviness of loss and disappointment. He knows us and He knows that there will be times in all of our lives when life just seems to get the better of us, when under the weight we buckle. That’s why he has given us His Word, not to say, “get a stiff upper lip”, but to realistically guide us through the pain so we can experience the comfort He has waiting for us on the other side. Experiencing the refuge that comes as we trust God means that we will:
Our tendency with pain is to hold it in and to hold on tight, but God tells us to let it out and give it to Him, “pour out your hearts to him” Ecclesiastes 3 says “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heaven: a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to cry” Our holding it in is simply an attempt to deny the pain but God says first and foremost we need to feel the hurt and we do that when we let it out. God doesn’t just say to let it out but to pour it out which is interesting when we consider how He created us to deal with pain. It isn’t an accident that when we hurt we cry and when we do often the tears pour out of us. Tears are an expression of thought, feelings and emotion created by God and I know, Big Boys Don’t Cry. It’s okay for me to share with the women reading this to feel the hurt and cry, but men are not supposed to lose control of their emotions, openly cry, worry or express overwhelming disappoint and sadness. When we approached school age, most boys are taught that “big boys don’t cry and to enforce this, those who don’t hold back the tears endure the humiliation of being called a girl, sissy or fairy. But if God has created us to release and we hold on then where do those tears go? Nowhere and when tears are held inside the pain can’t be released and instead only intensifies. Crying isn’t a sign of weakness it is the natural cleansing gift of release given to us by God. It isn’t an accident that we cry, we were created that way, even Jesus wept, in John 11:33, 35 “When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled…..Then Jesus wept” Tears allow us to openly face the grief of heartbreak and disappoint which begins the journey of hope by washing away the pain of the past.
Releasing our pain to God means that we must rely on Him, and to counteract the roller coaster ride of disappointment and fear we must reflect. Relying on God in the midst of the pain of this world means standing quietly in the elevator of life and listening to the music. But we can only do that if we are willing to slow down and fellowship with God in the midst of the pain. When was the last time you stepped into the quiet of His nature and let the music of His hills, valleys and streams roll over you? So often in the pain we just want to hear the ding that signals the end of the ride, to see the doors open so we can escape the ride. We endure it only because it gets us to our destination, but what if we accepted those moments when we feel trapped in the elevator of life. What if we were really open to listening to the soothing sounds of His rhythms and meditating on his promises?
Disappointment is often the result of getting less than what we expected or wanted. This world and the people in if will always fall short of our expectations, wants and needs, but God never will. In the Bible there are many promises that deal with specific situations we might encounter but the promises mean nothing apart from the God. We need to cultivate a relationship with the living God of these promises not just the promises themselves. When storms come we need to be able to connect His promises with our problems and we can only do that if we have connected the promises with the provider. Those who are willing to …pour out their hearts to God in prayer, learn to rest in Him. It is only through trusting Him and resting in that relationship that we find His refuge.