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Posted: November 17, 2008 5:00 a.m.

In desperate times

Life at times is hard. It seems so unfair. We suffer sometimes because of our own actions; other times because of the actions of others. How should we respond when times are tough and things are desperate and when it seems like we’ve been abandoned and heaven itself resounds with a deafening silence to our cries?

I think those times when our needs are desperate but heaven is silent are some of the loneliest moments we face. I have to wonder if our Lord, who was tempted in every point with which we are tempted yet without sin, (Hebrews 4:15) did not face that situation in the Garden. Certainly he knew it on the cross when he cried out, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46).

Perhaps you are going through one of those lonely, desperate times even as you read this. While we cannot help how we feel, we can always help how we think. At those times when I feel God is absent, I always force myself to turn toward his sure promises, and I remind myself that what I feel can be deceptive, but what he has promised is true.

One of those marvelous promises is found in Psalm 140:12-13, "I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted And justice for the poor. Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name; The upright will dwell in Your presence" (NASB95). "The Message" which is a more colloquial translation renders those two verses, "I know that you, God, are on the side of victims, that you care for the rights of the poor. And I know that the righteous personally thank you, that good people are secure in your presence."

In the book of Hebrews, God has promised that he will, "Never to leave us or forsake us" (Hebrews 13:5). This passage from Hebrews, by the way, is constructed in the most emphatic way possible for the Greek language. Five times God says I will "no not leave you and I will no never forsake you." While the translation of this verse into English is assuring, we miss the absoluteness of the promise as originally written. Even when we may feel abandoned, we can be certain that God is still there.

The Psalm text cited above reminds us that God "will maintain the cause of the afflicted." On that you can count. His promises never fail. Hang in there. Remember, not a single tear flows from our eyes that he does not see, and one day, perhaps sooner than we think, the pains of this world will give way to this glorious promise, "I heard a loud shout from the throne saying, ‘Look, the home of God is now among men, and he will live with them and they will be his people; yes, God himself will be among them. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain. All of that has gone forever’" (Revelation 21:3-4, The Living Bible). "So comfort and encourage each other with this news." (1 Thessalonians 4:18, The Living Bible).

Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church. Write him in care of the church at 11677 Brown Bridge Road Covington, GA 30016. Or e-mail him at john.pearrell@gatewaycommunity.org For more information visit the Gateway Web site at www.gatewaycommunity.org

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