Moving from Despair to Action
Message 3 From A-Z God is Good.
Psalm 119:25–32 (CSB)
25 My life is down in the dust;
give me life through your word.
26 I told you about my life,
and you answered me;
teach me your statutes.
27 Help me understand
the meaning of your precepts
so that I can meditate on your wonders.
28 I am weary from grief;
strengthen me through your word.
29 Keep me from the way of deceit
and graciously give me your instruction.
30 I have chosen the way of truth;
I have set your ordinances before me.
31 I cling to your decrees;
Lord, do not put me to shame.
32 I pursue (I will RUN, ESV) the way of your commands,
for you broaden my understanding.,
1. The Psalmist is moving from despair toward action.
- He named his condition (my life is in the dust, I’m weary from grief).
- He has asked for help from God through God’s Word.
- Now, we see several statements of action.
- The Psalmist writes, “I have chosen, I have set, I cling, I pursue/run.”
- The writer has asked God to do what only God can do.
- “Give me life through your word.”
- “Teach me your statutes.”
- “Help me understand.”
- “Keep me from deceit.”
- And now it is the Psalmist’s turn.
- Life on Earth will have trouble and pain.
- Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble.”
- The Good News is that Jesus has overcome the world.
- What that means is that, for the believer, pain and trouble are checkpoints, not destinations.
- The Good News means that we do not have to stay in places of despair, pain, and hurt.
- We cannot prevent all pain and trouble, but it does not have to define us because of what Jesus has done.
- How do we move from despair to action?
How do we move from despair to action?
- Believe that life, truth, and faithfulness are only found in God.
- As long as we hold out hope that life or truth or faithfulness can be found elsewhere, we are not fully faithful to God.
- For example, The other day, I was asked if it was ok to pay 99% of our tithes.
- I asked them if it was ok for their spouse to be faithful only 99% of the time.
- By holding even a glimmer of hope of finding salvation and life anywhere except from Christ alone, we are not being completely faithful.
- But despair, sorrow, and pain can have clarifying functions.
- There is something about hitting rock bottom and having everything else stripped away that can lead us to life in Christ alone.
- Because pain is never neutral, pain will drive us toward God or away from God.
- The Psalmist has confessed time and again that life is only found in God alone.
- With that confession, he is committed to God and His Word for life.
- It is worth our time to reflect upon where we believe life comes from.
- We too often place our hope and faith in places that were never meant to be the source of real life.
- Even good places like our spouse or kids.
- They can be life-giving, but they are not the source of our life and strength.
- To begin moving from despair to action, we must declare that Jesus is our only source and strength.
2. We must believe that God is Good.
- We do not trust what we do not believe is good.
- If the tires on your car are bad, you may still drive on them but you don’t trust them.
- If a family member has stolen from you often, you don’t trust them because they are not a good person.
- We will never fully trust in a God that we do not believe is good.
- We must be convinced that God is good.
- 1 Chronicles 16:34 (CSB) 34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever.
- Psalm 34:8 (CSB) 8 Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the person who takes refuge in him!
- Mark 10:18 (ESV) 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.[i]
- This means that God is good, even when I don’t think so.
- When we are at our lowest, this has to remain in front of us.
- I may feel like God is not fair or good.
- What I see with my eyes and think with my mind may lead me to question God’s goodness.
- But, like the Psalmist, these are moments when I have established God’s goodness as “fact”.
- We cannot move from despair into life if I don’t trust the Giver of Life.
- Even when I feel like I’m in the dust, God is still good.
- Even when I’m surrounded by all that is evil, God is still good.
- With this foundation, I am able to leave despair and move toward action.
3. We must invest ourselves in God’s Word and God’s presence.
- How do we choose, set, cling, and pursue when that part of our will seems broken, exhausted, and done?
- Because God is good, trustworthy, and faithful, I can move forward with what little strength and will I have left.
- It may not be much, it may be a mustard seed, but if that is all we can bring to the relationship, God provides the rest.
- How often have we asked a small child to take hold of our hand before crossing a street or walking into a busy place like Silver Dollar City.
- Are we asking that little kid to provide the strength necessary to not run in front of a car or not to be taken by a stranger?
- When we tell a child to “hold my hand,” we are asking for their trust and proximity.
- But the STRENGTH is provided by the Adult.
- It is my strength and my reaction time and my awareness that is keep the kid safe.
- Their hand in mine is their permission to keep them safe.
- Oh, dear child of God, God isn’t asking for you to provide supernatural strength.
- He is asking you to give Him your hand.
- Give Him our permission for Him to exercise His strength and power.
- Yes, cling with whatever you have left.
- Yes, run with what you have.
- Yes, set your mind upon God with your meditation.
- We do have a part to play, but path forward is not for you to become super-human but to trust God and to set you mind upon Him.
- When we trust in Jesus, we can believe that He will not put us to shame.
Apply: Put your life in Jesus’ hands.
- I remind us, pain is a checkpoint not a destination.
- We do not have to deny our present position to be a person of faith.
- But instead, we trust in God and His goodness.
- We put our hand in His hand.
- Not that we have the strength to hang on but because He has the strength to pull us through.
- We do what we can, however much or feeble that feels, and God who is faithful and just provides the rest.
- Today, for all who are weary, tired, exhausted, depleted, done, and finished, let us move from despair to action.
- Let us call upon Jesus.
- Let us focus upon His Word.
- Let us do what we can, and trust God for the rest.
[i] Here are 23 verses about God’s goodness.