Read time: 3m 28s
When I thought, “My foot slips,” Your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many, Your consolations cheer my soul. (Psa 94:18-19)
Sometimes life hands you lemons. Ah, well. Lemonade.
Sometimes life swarms you like mosquitoes and no matter how many you kill there will always be more coming from the protected “wetlands” nearby.
Sometimes life presents you with really heavy burdens. Last week we looked in Psalm 94:18 at how to survive when you’re super burdened and almost slip. But sometimes life presents you with despair-by-a-thousand-cares: “the cares of my heart are many.” “Oh, what’s wrong?” people ask. Well, not like anything really big. “Just life.” Nothing to pin-point, not any one thing to blame. But here you are. Soul slowly crushed beneath a gentle, endless, snowfall of cares. No one snowflake can kill you. But if they get a few more of their friends…
Notice too, whereas in the previous verse it was a struggle of the thoughts, here the struggle descends to the heart and the soul. A big problem captures our attention; I know why I feel bad. But many lesser problems? Why do I feel bad? Why can’t I handle “just life”? Must be something wrong with me. As I suspected.
Sometimes “many cares” hit us more deeply than a single crisis. So now, rather than “prevent me from slipping,” I need “cheer” in “my soul.” My soul, my self, my identity, my person. Me.
I am down. I give up. It’s not too heavy. I’m just too weak. It’s not that it can’t be done—other people seem to be doing fine. It’s that I can’t do it.
But the verse promises consolations from God. No, not consolation. Consolations (plural). My cares are many, so I need many consolations. This is what God gives us in His Word.
What are the many consolations give to cheer us up in the deepest parts of our selves?
Truths about God, about His character, who He is, what He’s like, where He is, what He can do.
Truths about God’s relationship with us, that He’s our Creator, our Maker, and keeps watch over us, is a Father to us, a King over us, a friend, a Spirit with us, and our Redeemer, Deliverer.
Truths about what God has done for us, in the past—His mighty deeds—in the present—His mysterious workings—in the future—His promises soon to come—things we know and can catalog, things we weren’t aware of but with slight reflection can see, and things we’ll never know the extent of in this life, and then in the life to come, fulfillment and life and delight forever.
Truths about who we are as a result of all this: made, created, watched over, cared about, delighted in, welcomed, accepted, forgiven, sealed, washed, new, strengthened, wise, able, unique, gifted, precious.
What am I missing? Lots more.
And each one of these could be developed, explained. There’s a reason for each, a reason why each is beautiful, a lie that each truth is correcting, a resistance that each comfort aims to overcome, a specific need each one satiates. There’s a story behind each one—many stories from thousands of years and hundreds of nations—my story and yours too.
Many, many consolations are ours through Christ. More than enough to address the many cares that crush our souls. More than enough to cheer our hearts.
“Just life” can be enough, not only to tire us out, but to re-wound our core selves.
“Why is the Bible so long?” “Why are there so many Psalms, so many stories, so many sermons?” Because each one has a consolation from your Father; each one has something sweet to cheer where the many cares have worked and soured.
But we must be specific, both with our cares and with Scriptures consolations.
We must be honest about what is whispered in our souls, little though we like to air them out. And then, when we go to Scripture, don’t be blasé about it, like, “There. I did it.” Get the sweetness! Find the consolations! Don’t be content with “going through the motions.” If you’re going to wield the shovel, then dig! Be bravely honest with yourself and rigorous and specific with God. “Cares, meet consolations.”