by Janice Gentles-Jones

Living with the fear of COVID-19 or other illness, may make you think about your mortality more often than you would like. The fear can often be distressful especially when you consider the ‘what ifs’. But what if you are the one who falls sick? What if you are the one who lives with chronic pain or illness? What if you are the one who is suffering because of your circumstances? David speaks of a time when he too felt distressed over his circumstance in Psalm 116 and Paul later addressed a similar concern in 2 Corinthians 4. What we learn from them is that we do nothave to lose heart, for our hope is in God.

Psalm 116 finds David suffering over “the snares of death. (Verse 3)” Distress and anguish temporarily plagues David, yet he cried out, ‘I believed, even when I spoke: I am greatly afflicted!” (Psalm 116:10). Paul also refers to this verse in 2 Corinthians 4 when he discussed the suffering of those who were spreading the gospel. He said, “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak. (Verse 13)” And why does Paul believe we should not lose heart, despite the circumstances? He gives us the following four reasons to consider:

• Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)

• For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

• For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).

• For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Read it again! I pray those verses give your heart today. I know it does to mine. Let us memorize those verses and store them in our heart so we too do not lose heart! This is why we live with hope! This is why, despite our current circumstances, we’ll still boldly proclaim, “I believed, even when I spoke: I am greatly afflicted!”

Let us pray from Psalm 116: 

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous.

Our God is merciful.

The LORD preserves the simple.

When I was brought low, he saved me.

Return, O my soul, to your rest.

for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.

For you have delivered my soul from death,

my eyes from tears,

my feet from stumbling.

I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.

I believed, even when I spoke: “I am greatly afflicted”.