Please turn in the Bible to Psalms 42:11 and read with me, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
There are times when we are moved from resting in the joy of our Lord. We become unthankful. We struggle to find place for injustices against we. Some expectation is not met, some joy is spoiled, some harm is done. We become angry, resentful, disappointed, hurt: we are disquieted.
Why? Soul, why art thou disquieted?
Certainly if we understand that we deserve worse, and we expect to be treated worse than we are, we would not get hurt. Becoming disquieted must therefore relate to our expectations. We must think that we have been treated in a manner worse than we deserve.
This is simple to resolve. We deserve to be burning in hell at this very moment. Right now we deserve to drop through the floor into the flames of a devil’s hell, and to be relentlessly and mercilessly exposed, shamed, and crushed by the penetrating holiness of an angry God, and to be trampled underfoot by Him in unbridled fierceness and fury. (Is 63:3, Rev 19:15) We merit being cast alive into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, to be eternally decimated by the immeasurably cataclysmic rage of Almighty God. We deserve this forever, because of our own sin, because of what we have done. We deserve to be eternally damned right now. What have we received that is worse than that?
I say! How easily we give thanks for all things when our expectations are properly set! When our expectations rise above what we truly deserve, we need only remind ourselves that we have begun to take for granted the goodness of God and have become hardened to His graciousness toward us.
If indeed we are not bound for a devil’s hell and the decimating fury of the Lord of Sabbaoth, it is but for the blood of Jesus Christ, that He became sin for us, and that He gave us faith in Himself. Our merit, our righteousness, is in Christ alone and it is by free grace that we are in Him. God has been exceedingly good to us, to His elect, regardless what little suffering He has purposed now to chasten and cleanse us. (Heb 12:10) We should be intensely and passionately grateful, not the least disquieted.
When God is good to us and we are not careful to remember what we truly deserve, we begin to expect His graciousness, rather than to appreciate Him. We begin to think that we deserve His goodness to us, and begin to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. We become proud and unthankful, as the lost around us, who do know of God, but glorify Him not as God, neither are they thankful. (Rom 1:21)
This is the first sin in the downward spiral into destruction, and how oft we find ourselves a prey to this! We fail here always first, in thankfulness. Here we find the resistance of God upon us, and that we have become vulnerable to the wiles of the devil. We find distresses, troubles and problems; we find the heavens brass and our enemies roused to unsteady us. We fight back and struggle. We become disquieted within.
Thus the cycle of life, “In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.” (Ecc 7:14) God orders trials and troubles to keep us from pride, that we should find nothing worthy of our hope and glory beside the God of heaven.
When we are disquieted, hope in God. Never rest in thoughts of our own goodness, in what we deserve. Peek out over the edge of our comfortable little life into the eternal flame … and ponder where we would be right now were it not for the merciful loving kindness and boundless grace of God. He is a consuming fire. (Heb 12:29) Yet to us He is love. (1Jn 4:16)
Those who wrong us have … in all likelihood … a fearfully dreadful end: we ought not envy them, nor seek their hurt, neither pity ourselves: but weep for them. So did Christ. (Luke 23:28) Hear the eternal cries of those appointed to destruction and love them … love our enemies. This dark world is likely the only heaven they will ever know. Meditate deeply upon, “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” (Is 33:14) “Lift up the hands which hang down and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed.” (Heb 12:12-13)
It is from this lowly place that we find hope in God, for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace unto the humble. (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5) Let’s return to the joy of our Salvation, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” (1Pe 1:8)
Let’s take our rightful and lowly place before God. Our hope is not in having higher expectations met, it is in remembering who we really are, what we deserve, and where we are headed. We are a sinner saved by grace. All we could ever truly deserve is eternal punishment, but we are loved by the Almighty, have a home in the heavenlies, and are seated there in Christ. Let’s humble ourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt we in due time. (1Pe 5:6)