" Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts the Lord."
Recently, when I was reading Psalm 32, the tenth verse seemed to jump out at me. There was something about it that caught my attention. There was something about the words that begged me to look more deeply into what they were saying.
Verse 10 speaks of a contrast, which is something that is found frequently in the Psalms as a whole. It presents "the wicked" on the one hand and "the one who trusts the Lord" on the other. And it might be said that these two kinds of people are in possession of two very different things. "The wicked" have "many sorrows," while "the one who trusts the Lord" has "steadfast love."
Okay, I get that. Wicked…sorrow; those who trust God…steadfast love. Nothing remarkable here. Just move on along to the next verse, please.
But it's not that simple. God has something more profound going on here. There is more than what first meets our eyes.
What the psalm doesn't say is that the wicked have many sorrows, sorrows that they bear without any comfort from God. And it also doesn't say that the "one who trusts the Lord" also has many sorrows in life. No one lives a life that is pain-free. No one lives a life that is absent any heartache or heartbreak.
The difference that the Psalmist points to is that the "one who trusts the Lord" is never alone in their sorrow. Even in sorrow, perhaps particularly during times of sorrow, times of hardship, they find that they are in the steadfast love of God.
When we feel lost in pain, when it seems as if our life is falling completely apart, it is good to remember the promises of God that there is never a time or place when those who love Him are absent or apart from Him.
What does God's steadfast love look like? I think one place where it is summed up well is in Question-and-Answer 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism, which asks, "What is your only comfort in life and in death?" The answer is rich and full of hope for God's people, saying:
"That I am not my own, but belong - body and soul, in life and in death - to my faithful savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him."
Thanks be to God that His steadfast love truly surrounds the one who trusts the Lord.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.