When You're Living Psalm 31 Instead of Proverbs 31
- Monday, June 16, 2014
If you are a woman and have been a part of the Church for any length of time, chances are good that you have studied Proverbs 31 alone or with a group of other women.
Some of us have heard it so much we have become jaded, or notice that people have clichéd it.
Sometimes, we feel more like a Psalm 31 woman:
Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak. Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors; I am a dread to my friends-- those who see me on the street flee from me. I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire against me and plot to take my life (vs. 9-13).
If your life looks a little too much like Psalm 31, there are at least five truths that can help move you toward a Proverbs 31 mentality.
Your Sorrow Can Turn to Joy
A woman who is living Psalm 31:9 is under deep emotional stress. Not only is she emotionally spent; her eyes are worn out from shedding so many tears. And this doesn’t sound like the silent tears that gently roll down your cheek. This sounds like what some of us call “the ugly cry.”
The Proverbs 31 woman “laughs at the days to come” (v.25). This might indicate that she doesn’t have any struggles in her life. Or, at the very least, one might think she doesn’t care about the problems she faces.
This passage never says the Proverbs 31 woman is without a concern. However, since she “laughs at the days to come,” she is secure in knowing Who holds the future and is able to rejoice because God is in control of every aspect of her life—good and bad.
If the personal anguish aspect of Psalm 31 is playing out in your life right now, don’t despair. God has promised us several times throughout Scriptures like Jeremiah 31:13 that he will turn our sadness into joy. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, we can rest in that promise.
Remember That God Not Only Redeems; He Restores
The suffering the psalmist describes goes beyond the crying and the emotional pain. The emotional pain has manifested into physical pain. Have you ever cried so hard you physically ached, or made yourself sick? More than likely you have, which means you can identify with the level of grief of the psalmist—at least in its physical manifestation.
The person writing Psalm 31 indicates in verse nine that his body is weary from the grief and in verse 10 said, “My strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.”
The Proverbs 31 woman, on the other hand, is strong and healthy. In verse 17, we are told, “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.”
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