“For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.” -I Corinthians 2:11
Lately I have been going through a trial like I have never experienced with my mother. Having remarried following my father’s death, these last few years have seen the marriage turn bitter, Mom fall into deep depression to the point she no longer wants to live, and divorce papers served. I will avoid speaking of the myriad of details and struggles we have gone through this summer trying to minister to her, but to give you an idea of how deep the waters have become: Just this week I had to seek court-appointed guardianship over my mom as she has quit eating and drinking. The doctors are contemplating inserting a feeding tube so that she will not take her life through self-starvation. Since mom would resist this, I needed the authority to keep her from committing what I’m calling “passive suicide.”
My next blogs were going to be on doctrinal matters, but I felt the need to write about this real life issue this time. I have hesitated for several days to write publicly about this out of respect for my mom, but the Lord has given me freedom to do so for several reasons. This has become so public, with doctors, lawyers, and even judges now involved, that there is no place for secrets about what is happening. Also, the church I pastor and ministry friends have been incredibly involved and supportive of me, and desiring to encourage the people of God is another reason I thought writing might help. For currently I know of other people going through their own great struggles, and as I’m repeatedly asked, “But how are you doing?,” I wanted to share one of the chief ways the Lord has and is sustaining me at this time. For though I have had times of weakness and struggle in knowing what to do, I want everyone to know the source of the strength I am finding.
I recently began a preaching series I’m calling Heart Songs of the Savior: The Psalms in the Life of Christ. One of the key themes I’m seeing in the Scriptures is the ultimate purpose God had for writing the Psalms, the 150 songs that form the “hymnbook” of the Bible. Surely God the Father had many reasons for recording these songs to help His people, but His greatest intention with these psalms was to give His one and only Son the comfort and guidance He would need when He left heaven and became man. God knew His Son would suffer greatly as He entered into this world of brokenness as the Son of Man, so He prepared songs of love, strength and encouragement to sustain His Son through His earthly life and ministry, particularly as He knew it would lead to the cross. As I will be showing the congregation, that the Psalms were constantly on the heart of Jesus can be seen in His teachings, actions and prayers. We hear in these psalms the love and conversation flowing back and forth between the Father and the Son. The gospels give us the teachings and miracles of our Lord; the psalms help us know what He was thinking at the time. The Spirit of God is revealing to us what was in the heart of our Savior, and seeing what Jesus thought during His difficulties has helped me in mine. Just as my spirit is telling you what’s in my heart through these words, God’s Spirit reveals what’s in the heart of God through His Word, and it is especially in the Psalms that we see this.
For instance, that Psalm 22 was on Jesus’ mind as He hung on the cross is no secret, for He quotes from it (see verse 1) and the description of His suffering, be it the wagging of the heads of His persecuters, the nakedness He felt, or the gambling over His clothes, is detailed explicitly in this psalm just as it is verified in the gospels. But we also have then the thoughts of Jesus recorded in the psalm which are found nowhere else. To meditate on Jesus’ thinking and prayer to His Father as He hung there, “But You, O Lord, be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance” (Psalm 22:19) helps me enter His sufferings more truly which, in turn, assures me He hears my same cries for help. O how close He is to me! How He understands all pain and struggle! What an intimate Savior I have!
Thank God He has given us in the Psalms the words of prayer and solace we need to be completely honest about our pain and sorrow in His presence. And thank God He has shown us how perfectly He understands us by giving us the very thoughts of Jesus. May He then comfort you with the very comfort of Christ.