In his book The Call, Os Guinness describes a moment when Winston Churchill, on holiday with friends in the south of France, sat by the fireplace to warm himself on a cold night. Gazing at the fire, the former prime minister saw pine logs “crackling, hissing, and spitting as they burned. Suddenly, his familiar voice growled, ‘I know why logs spit. I know what it is to be consumed.’”
Difficulties, despair, dangers, distress, and the results of our own wrongdoings can all feel consuming. Circumstances slowly drain our hearts of joy and peace. When David experienced the consuming consequences of his own sinful choices, he wrote, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. . . . My strength was sapped as in the heat of summer” (Psalm 32:3–4).
In such difficult times, where do we turn for help? For hope? Paul, whose experiences were filled with ministry burdens and brokenness, wrote, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8–9).
How does that work? As we rest in Jesus, the Good Shepherd restores our souls (Psalm 23:3) and strengthens us for the next step of our journey. He promises to walk that journey with us every step of the way (Hebrews 13:5).
What are some of the consuming struggles you’ve experienced? How did you respond? How did God meet you in those difficult times?
Check out the Discover the Word conversations on Psalm 32 at discovertheword.org/series/the-way-back-the-way-forward.
The lyrics of Psalm 32 are a song waiting to be sung. It’s not important that David, the singing shepherd, king, and songwriter of Israel, didn’t leave us music to replicate the sound of his song; nor is it important that the songs and poetry of his day rhymed in thoughts rather than words. What’s important is the discovery that to know God is music to the soul that in every generation, place, and culture needs to be lifted up with the sounds of joy (Ephesians 5:18–19; Colossians 3:16).