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August 25, 2023 8:00 pm
At the pastor’s invitation at the end of the church service, Latriece made her way to the front. When she was invited to greet the congregation, no one was prepared for the weighty and wonderful words she spoke. She had relocated from Kentucky where in December 2021 devastating tornadoes had taken the lives of seven of her family members. “I can still smile because God’s with me,” she said. Though bruised by trial, her testimony was a powerful encouragement for those facing challenges of their own.
David’s words in Psalm 22 (which point to the sufferings of Jesus) are those of a battered man who felt forsaken by God (v. 1), despised and mocked by others (vv. 6–8), and surrounded by predators (vv. 12–13). He felt weak and drained (vv. 14–18)—but he wasn’t hopeless. “But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me” (v. 19). Your present challenge—though likely not of the same variety as David’s or Latriece’s—is just as real. And the words of verse 24 are just as meaningful: “He has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; . . . but has listened to his cry for help.” And when we experience God’s help, let’s declare His goodness so others can hear of it (v. 22).