Summary: There is Hope in the place of Darkness and how to rise in that Hope.
THANKSGIVING FOR DELIVERANCE
Reading: Psalm 116
In the scope of human experience we find that there are many experiences that we all go through to one degree or another. There are times of joy and happiness we all have fond memories of some past event, which when we tell the story we keep to the basic facts, but there is some extra elaboration to keep the listeners attention. The childhood fisherman’s stories of the one that got away, the fluttering hearts of the young lady when her heart throb noticed her, even if it were a fleeting glance or the passing "hello".
How many people and in particular young people, suffered the hard up stories, "Cold, you don’t know the meaning of what it is to be cold. We did not have central heating in the winter of 47 or 62/63, and the coal was short and meat still rationed."
We are ready to talk about the externals that happen to us, be it what someone has done to us when we have a rise of what we call "righteous indignation", be it when there is some form of hardship or what ever. Yet we never really talk about what is really going on deep down inside of the real you. Yes we are ready to talk about the disappointments that we have in others, but what about the personal disappointments of our own failures and shortcomings. These are things that often the one who is most near to you is aware of, but you don’t share with them. You may have been all alone just talking to yourself with a deep and heavy heart, you may have even spoken to the pet dog, cat budgie or what ever, you may have even gone to the grave of a someone who was close to you and told them all about it, But you still have not found release from it.
Hurt has given way to despair, despair has given way to depression so this feeds itself to deep depth of depression. What you have discovered is that you cannot break it, you are simply unable in your own strength to snap out of it. The harder you try the darker it gets, the damper the dungeon the vice like grip gets tighter and you just know that you are going under. Let me tell you something, you are not beyond hope, yes all the best that any human being can give you will never set you free, but God in the person of Jesus Christ can and will.
Does not this Psalm ring of your experience, v.3. "The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I suffered distress and anguish." Here we have a description of someone caught in the grip of satanic oppression, the kind that says to you, "You are no longer a viable person, you don’t have a meaning in life any more, you are finished. You will never know the hand of God upon you again, why not finish it now, go on ease the burden from yourself and those around you, finish it, God will still take you." What he does not tell you is that The Lord God Almighty who created the heavens and the earth from nothing, this God who shaped man and then breathed life into him, this same God who knows everything there is to know about you, He is waiting and wanting to deliver you from this, but He is waiting for your call.
The evil one is saying; "you are dead," God is saying; "you are alive in Christ Jesus." We don’t know who wrote this psalm, but they had found themselves in need of the deliverance of the Lord, there was something that had set in on them in the same way that we have just described, but they had learnt that they would only find deliverance in Him and no where else.
Notice how that v.1. tells us that the LORD does hear us, verse 2 is a reaffirmation of verse 1. Verse 4 clearly shows us that he called to the LORD when he was in his distress and anguish; such was the attack that he understood that his life was in danger. This person knew that his times were in God’s hands and no other. It was God who had apportioned his length of time here on earth and he was no going to let anyone or anything prevent him from fulfilling what God had for him to do. Notice that the psalmist lists some of the attributes of God in verse5, Gracious, righteous and merciful, so that when he gets to verse 6 he was able to know this beyond any doubt. Verse 7 is the key challenge; "RETURN, O MY SOUL, TO YOUR REST."