Tissue Boxes – Sunday Thought For The Day
The following was written for September 20, 2015 “Our Daily Bread” by Tim Gustafson.
As I sat in the surgical waiting room, I had time to think. I had been here recently, when we received the jarring news that my only brother, much too young, was “brain dead.”
And so on this day, waiting for news about my wife who was undergoing a serious surgical procedure, I penned a lengthy note to her. Then, surrounded by nervous chatter and oblivious children, I listened for the quiet voice of God.
No matter what happens, our good & bad times still remain in God’s capable hands.
Suddenly, news! The surgeon wanted to see me. I went to a secluded room to wait. There, on the table, sat two tissue boxes, conspicuously available. They weren’t for the sniffles. They were for cold, hard phrases like I heard when my brother died—“brain dead” and “nothing we can do.”
In such times of grief or uncertainty, the honesty of the psalms makes them a natural place to turn. Psalm 31 was the heart-cry of David, who endured so much that he wrote, “My life is consumed by anguish” (v. 10). Compounding that grief was the pain of abandonment by his friends and neighbors (v. 11).
But David had the bedrock of faith in the one true God. “I trust in you, Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands” (vv. 14-15). His lament concludes with resounding encouragement and hope. “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord” (v. 24).
This time in the waiting room, the surgeon gave us good news: My wife could expect a full and complete recovery. Of course we’re relieved and grateful! But even if she hadn’t been “okay,” our times still remain in God’s capable hands.
Lord, we give You our deepest grief and pain as well as our joy. Thank You for Your constant love and presence no matter what today holds for us. You alone are faithful!
When we put our problems in God’s hands, He puts His peace in our hearts.
David was in great distress (v. 9) and in grave danger (v. 13) when he wrote Psalm 31. Because he was persecuted and threatened by powerful enemies, his close friends abandoned him (v. 11), considered him a lost cause, and left him alone to fend for himself (v. 12). Twice David affirmed his unwavering faith in God. He says in verse 6, “As for me, I trust in the Lord” and in verse 14, “But I trust in you, Lord.” Acknowledging that God has been faithful to him, David confidently committed his spirit to God and trusted Him to deliver him (v. 5). While on the cross, Jesus prayed the same prayer of trust to His Father, “Into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Sim Kay Tee
READ: Psalm 31:9-18
9 Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.
10 For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.
11 I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.
12 I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.
13 For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.
14 But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God.
15 My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.
16 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake.
17 Let me not be ashamed, O Lord; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.
18 Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.
About the Author
Mychal S. Massie is an ordained minister who spent 13 years in full-time Christian Ministry. Today he serves as founder and Chairman of the Racial Policy Center (RPC), a think tank he officially founded in September 2015. RPC advocates for a colorblind society. He was founder and president of the non-profit “In His Name Ministries.” He is the former National Chairman of a conservative Capitol Hill think tank; and a former member of the think tank National Center for Public Policy Research. Read entire bio here