More than likely all of us have had short term trials that appeared, were incredibly painful, and then went away. The car accident, the move of your best friend to another state, the broken arm, the break-up with the person you thought you were going to marry. All incredibly painful but in most cases, the pain eventually receded.
At times however we’re faced with trials that seem determined to stay, determined to suck the life out of us, little by little. The husband who sits in front of the tv each night and fails to lead the family, the wife who struggles with bouts of severe depression, the back pain that will never get better.
Perhaps you know what it’s like to be besieged – to have an enemy encamped around you who wants to see you starve to death inside your fortified walls. Sieges generally offer constant, low intensity conflict and take place over long periods of time. But just because the conflict is low intensity, it doesn’t mean the anguish is low intensity. In many ways, sieges can be harder to face than the kind of trials which are incredibly painful but which we know won’t last forever.
As you live under siege, you find your life has become the life of Psalm 31. Tears blur your eyes. Your body and soul are withering away. You are dying from grief; your years are shortened by sadness. Sin has drained your strength; you are wasting away from within. (Ps. 31: 9-10, NLT)
Yet as we continue in Psalm 31 we find that God shows wonderful love to those who live in besieged cities (vs. 21). He hears their cry for mercy. As we cry out to him we find that when it looked like our pantries were being emptied and our supplies depleted and eroded, God has stored up for us bounty of which we were unaware – he has stored up goodness for those who come to him. God has been stocking his storehouse with goodness for you. And rather than rationing out this goodness, God intends to distribute it lavishly (vs. 19). So when it seems as if you would starve to death, as you cry out and trust in Jesus, you find that a banquet has been prepared for you, a feast from the storehouses of God.
In their blindness, your enemies camped at your home and planned to slowly suck the life out of you. They gloated at the thought of you starving within your fortified walls. Little did they know that your bread is the bread of life and your food is supplied by the one who upholds the cause of the oppressed. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. In your weakness and weariness you can expect that he will give you strength and power. He is always with you and he holds you by your right hand. Thus, as you cling to him you are able to bow before the Lord in awe and proclaim as in Psalm 73:
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
(Ps. 73:25-26 NIV)