Fragile Contents Need Extra Care
I suppose that Gale and I are not the only parents whose adult children leave lots of their belongings behind when they leave home. Those mystery boxes and hanging clothing at our house can be found in the closet and in both of our storage sheds. One day I decided to move some of it from one shed to the other (which probably meant that I moved it back to the shed I had moved it from previously!). As I relocated the boxes of “treasure” one of them sounded like it contained pots and pans as I sat it down in a not so delicate way. I figured if it had useable pans inside whichever one of our girls who deposited it at our house might just have some use for it, an idea that I thought was a clever way to get rid of at least one box! But when I took a look inside I discovered that the rattling that I heard was not the sound of aluminum and stainless steel cookware. Instead, when I made my visual observation I found that it contained ceramic items. As quickly as I had opened the box, I closed it without any further investigation and stacked it away with the rest of the boxes. I do not know if anything inside was broken, but if the past is any indicator, that box will not be opened again for many years and its owner is not likely going to come searching for it.
That box containing the fragile items looked sturdy and able to withstand anything that came against it. In reality it was not indestructible and outside forces could potentially destroy what was stored in it. Our lives are a lot like that, too. We are able to put on the appearance that we are able to withstand whatever comes our way, while inwardly we have weak and tender spots that can be crushed by the cruel and insensitive comments and actions of others. Covering up the resulting heartaches do not make them disappear; they only accumulate, continue to hurt us, and can even drive us to hurt others because of our own frustrations and pain.
David, a great man of God in the Old Testament, often expressed the pain and sorrow that he was enduring at the hands of others. David was by no means weak physically and emotionally, but neither was he too proud to acknowledge his seasons of sorrow. He also knew that he needed help from God to overcome the attacks that were coming against him. Included in what he wrote in Psalm 55 is an observation about his painful dilemma that we might be familiar with: “If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God” (verses 12-14, New International Version). One writer, commenting on the topic of the suffering of the righteous followers of Christ, rightly stated that “The Christian faith lies not in the removal of weakness and suffering, but in the manifestation of divine power through human weakness.” Simply put, the glory and power of God can often be seen most clearly in our weakest and darkest hours.
There are few things in life that hurt more than betrayal by a friend. No matter how strong we look on the outside, disappointments by those close to us hurt more than words can describe. In those times we can rely upon what we are reminded of in verse 22: “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.” And in the midst of pain and frustration we can choose to be committed to the determination that David expressed toward God as he concluded this psalm: “But as for me, I trust in You” (verse 23).