Pastor Travis Burkett
Psalm 25:16-20, “Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate (or lonely) and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged. O bring thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins. Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred. O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee.”
Have you ever struggled, feeling afflicted? Maybe right now, you are feeling the struggle of affliction as you are isolated from life as you know it. I want to encourage you with the fact that you are not alone! In fact, a recent study showed that 46% of Americans struggle with loneliness, and 47% of Americans struggle with emotional emptiness. Affliction is a real struggle.
In our culture, we pack our lives with friendships, school activities, hobbies, and work. We have this drive to stay engaged and find fulfillment. If it’s not being active, we fill our time with social media, video games, or Netflix as if we are afraid of being silent. (We know the struggle, as we turn something up on the tv for background noise as we scroll through our Facebook feed).
We hate isolation, we can’t stand feeling alone or even sitting in silence. We forget that stillness is often when God works. Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am god: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Now, that being said… The Bible also says what to do when we face the struggle of afflictions: Psalm 25:16-17, “Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged. O bring thou me out of my distresses.”
In 9th grade, I couldn’t stand being alone or in silence. I couldn’t drive, social media wasn’t huge, and phones were only free after 9 PM, but I had to fill my time, or I felt lonely and afflicted. There were other times when loneliness hit the hardest when I was around people. I was constantly searching for something to turn to so I could find fulfillment. For me, the struggle was loneliness, and it seemed like the only answer was a need to be fulfilled. But the question was, where do I find lasting fulfillment? The Bible will tell us that only God can truly fulfill us.
In times like quarantine, we can feel lonely. Asking questions like: Why haven’t they connected with me? Do they care? Why haven’t they tagged me in their Facebook picture challenge? We have a strong desire to be connected and fulfilled, but why am I never satisfied? I want to encourage you that when the struggle of affliction is real, take comfort that Jesus is near. In fact, the Bible says that He will never leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5), He abides in you (John 15:4), He is your peace (Ephesians 2:14), He is your fortress (Psalm 18:2), He is your comfort (2 Corinthians 1:4), He is your protection (Proverbs 29:25), and He is your refuge and strength (Psalm 46).
Psalm 25 will tell us to put our hope in Him! Learn to trust God. God wants to fulfill us, provide for us, and lead us. Affliction is the struggle, but with God there is refuge! David’s struggles did not limit him from trusting in his God. His faith remained, even when God’s plan caused struggle. What a great reminder from the life of David that if you want God to show up in your life, you must be content with the way in which He shows Himself present. May we be reminded that the struggle is real, but may we trust in HIM!