Keep your chin up…hang in there…stay tough…are phrases that people use to encourage you to either stop focusing on your problem or to not give up. Hollow words to those of us whose hope for the best ended with “A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside,” (C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed). What is healing to this wounded and confounded soul is to do as Joshua encouraged, “… hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day,” Joshua 23:8. Yet, the days can be complicated and the nights restless once our head droops and eyes are cast downward. It’s as if we cannot remember our pledge of loyalty to God. Human nature has not changed all that much, for Joshua had to remind the Israelites long ago, “But take careful heed… to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul,” Joshua 22:5.
“But,” you might say, “That is all well and good when everything is going right – when we are ‘on the other side. Besides, only Christ Himself could rise above despondency from losses such death of a loved one, a barren womb, or the destruction of addiction.” Yet even Jesus Christ wept with despondency. Luke 19:41-44 says, “Now as Jesus drew near to Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this day, the things that make for your peace!” What is it that Jesus knew so intimately and with such certainty? He knew to sing Psalm 116:1 even at the last Passover supper he shared with the disciples. He would have lifted the ‘cup of salvation’ and sung, “I love the Lord, because He has heard my cry…because He bends down from His place in glory to meet my needs.” Jesus Christ knew even then that the disciples would speak words of no comfort, and that even their attempts to console Him would be of no use. It is not comforting to hear words from those who have not suffered greatly. Nor is it company to swap misery. What brings perspective to all this suffering is when we know, really know, that we can call to the Lord and Savior of the world to take action on behalf of just one. Notice the personal pronouns in Psalm 116:3-9 “The pains of death surrounded me, and the pangs of Hell laid hold of me; then I called upon the Lord, ‘Deliver me!’”
Therefore, hold fast to the resurrected Christ who knows suffering.
Hold fast to the trustworthy God who hears your cry.
Hold fast as you know to do, as your experience in this fallen world has taught you to do. Hold fast because the God of the universe delivers those who cling to Him.