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Reading:                                      Psalm 44

 (Verses 9-16)
But now you have rejected and humbled us;
you no longer go out with our armies.
You made us retreat before the enemy,
and our adversaries have plundered us.
You gave us up to be devoured like sheep
and have scattered us among the nations.
You sold your people for a pittance,
gaining nothing from their sale.
You have made us a reproach to our neighbors,
the scorn and derision of those around us.
You have made us a byword among the nations;
the peoples shake their heads at us.
I live in disgrace all day long,
and my face is covered with shame
at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me,
because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge
(NIV).

Reflection
Psalm 44 begins on a very positive note as the psalmist recalls the goodness of the LORD and the great victories Israel has won because of the LORD’s help. But that was the past. This is now and the triumphs of bygone years are just fading memories. The current reality as described in this portion of the psalm is a depressing litany of disgrace, disaster and defeat.

2017-10-01

Draw me to the light of your countenance, Lord — photo by David Kitz

But now you have rejected and humbled us; you no longer go out with our armies. You made us retreat before the enemy, and our adversaries have plundered us. 

We can all pretend that after we turn our lives over to Christ everything will go well for us. Often it does. After all, isn’t He on our side? Isn’t He working on our behalf for our success? Why would He allow stress, trouble and hardship to come our way?

The truth is the LORD is far more interested in developing our character than our comfort. Character development doesn’t happen without adversity. James, our Lord’s brother has some sound advice on this topic.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).

I dislike adversity, but we should greet adversity as a friend—a friend that provokes us to prayer and to overcoming. Hard times push us into discovering God’s grace afresh.

Response: LORD God, help me to see the difficulties I face as stepping stones to victory. I know I need your help, so I call out to you. Change me through the hard times. You are my Savior and my God. Amen.

Your Turn: How has adversity helped to develop your character?