“Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!” Psalm 4:1
You have to wage war on your feelings. Faith must be bolstered in any and all battles. No matter your distress, no matter your loss, no matter your battle, know that by faith he is giving you relief. He hears your prayer and is a grace-giving God. I hear Paul saying to me what he said to Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:18-19: “…wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience.”
However, in order to carry out such a faith-war, you have to turn to him. You have to call out to him. I’m reminded of Psalm 121:1-2 where we read, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Our righteous God invites us to call upon him. And he gives relief in distress; he meets us in the battle. Trust him. Stand firm.
“But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.” Psalm 4:3
God does not show favoritism. However, he works through those who turn to him, who repent of self and sin, who embrace his Kingdom, his will, and his ways. He sets apart those who embrace all godliness, those who are growing in his likeness. Paul instructs Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:7, “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness…” Turn away from the irreverent and silly and train yourself for godliness, and he hears when you call.
“Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.” Psalm 4:4
I remember as a college student being very curious about this verse. It struck me somehow. I’ve never been quite sure why until I faced grief. When faced with loss, and you’re having to wage war on feelings, you have to guard yourself. You have to do a lot of silent pondering. Without sin even when you’re agitated or angry.
I’ve written about anger a number of times already, but the admonition is clear that we are free to be angry about some things, but never to do so in a way that allows for sin. I do get angry about sin, my flesh, and Satan. I bolster my faith with that sort of anger. I agree with God.
If you’re facing grief, spend times in God’s word, ponder truth, and spend a lot of time in silence.
“Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord. There are many who say, ‘Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!’” Psalm 4:5-6
After pondering in silence, offer praise and sacrifices to God. Trust him. Doggedly so. Even your friends recognize you’ve been thrown for a loop. You’re in a difficult story. They all wonder if good will come from such a tragedy. Ponder in silence, and then stand and see God’s salvation as he lifts up the light of his kind face upon you.
“You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:7-8
It’s a mystery. Joy even in pain. When you turn to God and embrace him in your pain, and when you wage war on your feelings, he puts a rich joy in your heart. It’s not shallow joy. You can lie down and sleep. You know that your eternity is in his safe-keeping.
Be silent on your bed. Ponder his ways. Press into profound joy and peace.
“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5