My comfort in my suffering is this: your promise preserves my life.
Psalm 119:50 (NIV)
Read: Psalm 119:49-56
Consider: The psalmist speaks very openly and honestly about the suffering he is subject to, but instead of feeling sorry for himself he speaks of the comfort he receives from knowing and trusting in God’s promises.
Comfort in mentioned twice in this section of the psalm; in verses 50 and 52. In verse 50 it is God’s promises that are the source of the comfort and in verse 52 is is God’s ancient laws. We have to recognise that there is a difference between knowing something (just reading about it) and trusting in it. While we could spend a lot of time reading the Bible and noting every promise God has made, this might be useful academically, but not be of much practically unless we move from knowing to trusting in God’s promises. When the psalmist was writing he was trusting in the specific promises of God that he would be king and his throne would be established. This brought him comfort, even when faced with rebellion and opposition from his enemies.
In 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 Paul says this about suffering and comfort:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
Paul sees that while we are comforted by God when we are suffering, this gives us the ability to emphasise and comfort those around us who are also suffering. While Paul is thankful that God has comforted him in his personal troubles, he sees the bigger picture knowing that he can comfort others. In other words the blessing of God’s comfort flows through him to others in distress.
There is a really interesting verse in this section of the psalm. In verse 53 it says: Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law. The psalmist was deeply moved by what he saw around him and how people were turning their back on God. The question for us must be – what causes us to be indignant or to be deeply moved? Does the spiritual condition of our cities, nations and world cause us to be moved, knowing how God is disregarded by society? Or does it all ‘wash over us’ as we become anaesthetised to the wickedness in society?
Pray: Father, may we be a comfort to others, just as you are a comfort to us. Use every experience we have in life to bring glory to yourself. Prevent us from becoming anaesthetised to the wickedness and indifference in society and help us to pray for the salvation of those around us. Amen