Christians struggle. Christians get overwhelmed and hurt. They can find themselves fighting for solid ground in the currents of this life and of their own minds. Christians may struggle, that they like the Psalmist wish that they could have wings with which to fly like a bird away from it all (Psalm 55:4-8).
Christians have struggled for a very long time. It is no new thing. King Solomon with all of his wisdom and riches and pleasures, despaired to the point of writing “I hated life, because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit” (Ecclesiastes 2:17). His father David, too, cried out to God saying “I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children…Reproach hath broken my heart and I am full of heaviness; and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.” Some of our greatest examples throughout history and some of the strongest people we know have been shaken by strong grief, doubts, fears, and confusion. They have felt hopeless or without purpose. A downcast and weary soul is no new thing.
This is a feeling that on our own we all deserve. We have no purpose. We aren’t enough. We only fail; we can do no good. We mess a lot of things up and stumble pitifully over the restrictions of time, energy, and our physical ability in our lives; over the faults and shortcomings of our own selves and those around us; over hindrances that constantly remind us of our own strikingly obvious lack of control over our own lives. We are uncomely and displeasing, completely corrupt with sin and depravity, and the imperfection fallen upon all things in the fall. We of ourselves are altogether ugly, weak, foolish, and insignificant. We aren’t enough. We are as people drowning with no hope of lifting ourselves out of the waters. Left alone we have nothing to hold onto. We are people prone to fail. We need someone to take our outstretched hands, to carry us up out of the cold and choking waters that batter us. We need a Rock to rest upon, to be our refuge from the dark waters.
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. –Psalm 61:2-4
Man from the very beginning when he ate of the forbidden fruit stumbled. We have fallen as a race and are born in sin. We are worthy of no praise or mercy. Such insufficiency is the reason God sent his Son to die on the cross (John 3:16). He in his wonderful goodness and tender mercy has chosen to love and to save sinners such as us. He is sufficient. He is beautiful and good. He has paid for and forgiven our original sin, as well as those that continue to drag us down. We are creatures born in bondage to sin and death, but in Christ we are set free (Romans 8:21). We have hope and life and the ability to fight our sin. We have redemption and the knowledge that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38, 39). He hears all our thoughts and our cries, and he holds his children in his hand. We have the unconditional love and mercy of our Father in eternity. We do not need wings with which to fly from our problems and weaknesses. We will encounter trouble in this life, but we know that God has overcome the world (John 16:33). We have been given victory over all sin and death, even in our weakness, and the more insufficient a child of God finds himself or herself, the more God’s own sufficiency will be made known.
We possess no good thing on our own. But yet because of God we have everything. We are covered in his abiding love and are revived into life and joy eternal. We don’t need strength or control or wealth. We just need God. He will always carry us, and though the night may contain weeping, joy will come in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. –Isaiah 12:2