Psalm 34:18-19 - The Blessings of Adversity.

Psalm 34:18-19 - The Blessings of Adversity.

Psalm 34:18-19 (NKJV) The Lord is near to those who have a 
broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. 19 Many are the 
afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.  

Someone once said that when we sail through life without a trial 
or a sorrow, we may slide by without knowing Jesus, but in our 
suffering we discover true fellowship with him. God never promised us a 
problem-free Christian life, but this psalm gives us several assurances about 
how God responds to us when troubles come. He promises his watch 
care, his attentiveness to our cries for help, his closeness, and his 
deliverance. [Praying Through The Bible By Fuller re vs. 15, 17-18] 

God's presence is often experienced in difficult times. We often 
wish we could escape troubles--the pain of grief, loss, sorrow, and 
failure; or even the small daily frustrations that constantly wear us 
down. God promises to be "close to those whose hearts are breaking," 
to be our source of power, courage, and wisdom, and to help us 
through our problems. Sometimes he chooses to deliver us from those 
problems. When trouble strikes, don't get frustrated with God. Instead, 
admit that you need God's help and thank him for being by your side. 
[Life Application SB] 

   Your new faith may have begun as a spiritual 'high"--a 
"mountaintop" experience. Perhaps you're now surprised to discover that life 
still has its difficulties. We'd prefer to be on the mountaintop, free 
from life's cares and trials, all the time. That's not realistic, 
though. Besides, God calls us to help those who are struggling down in 
the valley.  
   Don't be surprised at life's ups and downs. Seek to serve God 
wherever you are. Even those days that are filled with struggles are 
opportunities for you to trust God and grow in your faith. Your faith off the 
mountain must be just as strong and courageous as your faith on the 
mountain. [The One Year Bible for New Believers re Luke 9:34-43] 

   Some Christians emphasize the first half of verse 19: "the 
righteous person faces many troubles." And there are plenty of Scripture 
passages to back it up. In this world, we will have trials and experience 
pain. We live in a broken world, and suffering is a part of it. God 
doesn't keep His people from difficulties. In fact, our faith often 
subjects us to more intense battles and temptations. Trials are a part of 
our lives.  
   Other Christians emphasize the second half of this verse: 
"the LORD comes to the rescue each time." And there are plenty of 
Scripture passages to back this up too. God is our rescuer, our refuge, 
and our strength. He promises great successes and enables us to 
overcome great obstacles. Story after story in the Bible tells us of His 
power on our behalf. Victory is a part of our lives.  
   The problem is that those who emphasize the trials and 
troubles often live in defeat and never can really believe God for 
victory. And those who emphasize the victories often live in a state of 
denial about real human struggles and insist that faith always achieves 
predictable results. Neither emphasis is biblical, but a balance between 
them certainly is. The verse as a whole is the right perspective: we 
do face many trials, and God does deliver us from all of them in 
one way or another.  
   Whatever issue you face today - and we all face something at 
any given time - avoid a false emphasis. Don't ask "why me?" as 
though something is wrong when God allows you to go through a 
difficulty; but don't dwell in the difficulty as though God has no practical 
solution for it. He does - and He promises to rescue us every time. [The 
One Year Experiencing God's Presence Devotional by Chris Tiegreen] 

   Sometimes when we look at God through the lens of our 
circumstances, He doesn't look very good. That's because our circumstances lie 
to us. They portray a careless God or an indifferent God or even a 
brutally painful God. If He is sovereign, we tell ourselves, He could 
have prevented the crisis or chaos we're going through. And yet He 
hasn't. Therefore ... and we fill out the rest of the sentence with an 
indictment against His good intentions.  
   Never in Scripture does God define Himself by the hardships 
of His people. In fact, the hardships often set up a demonstration 
of His goodness. It takes a sickness to reveal a Healer, a 
captivity to reveal a Deliverer, or a war to reveal a Warrior. Our need 
creates an occasion for Him to show who He is. So when we are hurting, 
it isn't a sign of His disfavor. It may actually be a sign of His 
desire to meet us at a point of need.  
   Whatever is going on in your heart or in your life right now, 
it isn't a sign of God's displeasure or unconcern. It isn't hidden 
from Him, and it doesn't drive Him away. In fact, He is drawn to you 
in your times of need. Broken heartedness and desperation are 
magnets for His attention. The key is lifting heartbreak and desperation 
up to Him as an offering, a gift of opportunity for Him to use. His 
love and compassion cannot refuse a heart that needs Him and knows 
   Tell God that you need His comfort. Acknowledge your 
discouragement and despair. Invite Him into your painful places. Know that He 
wants to meet you there. [The One Year Experiencing God's Presence 
Devotional by Chris Tiegreen] 

   Life did not happen as I had planned. Divorced; a single 
mother of two, ages two and six; and clinically depressed, I became the 
kind of person I had always viewed as a loser. From childhood I had 
followed Jesus, and I was even involved in a highly public ministry as 
the soprano in the recording trio First Call. But behind the scenes, 
my life was one step forward, three steps back. Unanswered 
questions left me struggling to find God in the light, in the dark - 
   Often falling asleep with the Bible open across my chest, I 
wondered how God could use my broken life. One day I came across Psalm 
34:18. The love Jesus had for broken people became the lifeline that 
saved me. Suffering drew me closer to Jesus and drew him closer to me. 
Suffering became our common ground. And as I slowly began to heal and walk 
in renewed peace, this verse remained a banner over my life. From 
my personal brokenness, I can now speak to others who feel lost and 
   Broken people are the reason God came as Immanuel, "God with 
us"! This psalm reveals our broken world as a field waiting for the 
harvest of new promises. Those who are crushed in spirit are the ones 
most ready to receive the gospel of Jesus, if only they will take it, 
show it, and live it out. Praise you, Jesus, that you are and have 
always been drawn to the messy, broken ones. Hallelujah! What a Savior! 
   Bonnie Keen, a songwriter and member of the award-winning 
group First Call, is also the author of A Ladder out of Depression, 
God Loves Messy People, and Blessed Are the Desperate for They Will 
Find Hope. [The One Year Bible Life Verse Devotional re v. 18] 

Romans 8:28 (NKJV) And we know that all things work together for 
good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to 
His purpose.