Jump Start # 2862
Psalms 94:19 “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.”
When one reads history, it is hard to fully understand why people did what they did. We see the results and the actions taken, but much too often we do not know what people were thinking. And, as our verse today reveals, we do not know the anxious thoughts that were building up inside of a person. Those anxious thoughts can lead to desperate choices and even tragic consequences.
I was reading the records of an old country church in Indiana. In 1905, the wife of one of the elders in that church committed suicide by cutting her throat with a razor. Her death was attributed to melancholy. When I read that I thought our verse today. Anxious thoughts can pile up inside us. The walls can close in. And, for this one troubled sou a long time agol, named Pauline, taking her life was the choice she chose.
Rather than picking up a razor many choose a bottle of alcohol. Others simply walk away from the Lord. They see no connection between Sunday and what is going on in their lives. The cheerfulness of worship doesn’t cover the darkness of the world they live in. Anxious thoughts mount. Bills. Health issues. Worries about children. Relationship issues. Troubles in the nation. Fear. Doubt. Guilt. One on top of another on top of another and with each passing day, there seems to be more added. They multiply. And, as these troubles increase, they squeeze the joy out of our lives. The smiles are replaced with a worried look. Life becomes a burden. The days seem long. And, there seems to be no end to these troubles.
Our verse helps. Our verse is important. Our verse needs to be burned upon our hearts.
First, God is aware of those anxious thoughts. It is the Lord who inspired this passage. It is the Lord who sees these mounting fears growing within us. One often feels alone. One often thinks no one understands. But God does. He knows.
Second, God is our help. That’s the thought behind this passage. The anxious thoughts increase, but God is our delight. God is ever present. God is upon the throne. God can do things that no one else can. Troubles come and go, but God remains. Most of us couldn’t remember what troubled us five years ago. We tossed and turned. We prayed. We had anxious moments. But they passed. That’s the way trouble works. Trouble comes and it bothers us for a while. Then something happens and it goes away. Troubles come and go but God remains.
Third, faith plays a major, major role in all of this. Our faith can be greater than those anxious moments. Our faith is not in ourselves, nor in the belief that things will just magically get better. Our faith is in the Lord. The Lord who has rescued His people time and time again. Fiery furnaces, lion’s dens, prison walls, rushing armies, giants, fortified cities, God’s people faced some incredible challenges. But God was there. Faith is the key. Not in hoping nor expecting a miracle, but in knowing that the worse thing that can happen isn’t that bad. What can man do, other than take our life. But through faith, we will still be with the Lord.
Fourth, our verse seems to have a direction to it. There are the anxious thoughts that are multiplying and there is the godly consolations that delights the soul. It seems the Psalmist wants us to focus not upon the troubles but upon the Lord. Consolation is comfort. It is help. It is strength. Look at the problem or look at the Lord. And what the Lord provides brings delight. It puts joy back into our hearts. The passage does not say the troubles are gone. It does not say there is nothing to be concerned about. But the focus has shifted. The mindset is now heavenward. God has been invited into the thought process. God is involved with the problem. Peter says, “Casting all your anxiety upon Him because He cares for you.” You alone, likely cannot handle the problem. You alone will likely make the wrong choices. But with God, you’ll get through this. Don’t hold on to those anxious thoughts, cast them, give them, to the Lord.
Finally, any of us can have anxious thoughts. When I was reading about the 1905 suicide of Pauline, wife of an elder in the church, I thought she ought to have known better. But couldn’t we say the same about Judas? Couldn’t we say the same to so many who walked away from a cemetery and then walked away from the Lord. Couldn’t we say the same thing about us? Doubts greater than faith. Fear more real than the Lord. Despair covering hope.
Backseat driving provides a lot of answers that at the time one doesn’t think about. Did Pauline trust the Lord? Did she have someone to talk to? Was her husband out of touch? What caused her troubles? Was there serious mental illness? Could no one reach into her mind and heart and save her? But what about us? Isn’t it true that most times we keep things under lock and key. We don’t seek help until our boat is going over the waterfalls and often then it is too late. We don’t want to admit that anxious thoughts are multiplying. We don’t want to admit that we are slipping. We don’t want others to know that we are not doing well. So we hide behind masks and fake smiles. And, in many ways, nothing has changed from the world Pauline lived in back in 1905 and our world today.
Which is more painful, admitting that we need some help, our watching our own faith die? Pride, fear, embarrassment will always keep a mask near by.
We must trust the Lord. His consolations bring delight. His help is ever present. He can move mountains. He can help you conquer those anxious moments in your life.