“But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. All those who see me ridicule me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue him; Let Him deliver him, since he delights in Him!” Psalm 22:6-8
People can be cruel and, in fact, life can be cruel, not only for Christians, but for everyone. For the Christian, though, there is the added predicament of being in a contentious position with others who have no faith or belief in God. Simply because we have manifested our belief in a creator God in whom we place our hope and trust, we become in many people’s eyes, at the very least a fool, or to some, a reminder of their guilt, or a representation of the truth that they have been denying, thus being an object of their hatred or reproach. We can’t get away from this if we chose to follow Jesus. We are taught by the scriptures that we as Christians become like a fragrance, a sweet smelling perfume to those who are being saved, but to those who are perishing, we become a repulsive odor or stench of death.
“For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.” 2 Cor. 2:15-16
Our circumstances and the behavior of the people we interact with daily can put us in a mindset that we feel like we are as worthless as a worm. Does this happen to you? Do you sometimes feel like you have no value and are not contributing anything to this world? Or even worse, do you feel like even God has forgotten about you? Your situation remains miserable. You desire some kind of relief or change or deliverance, but you continue day by day in the same circumstances. No end to the misery is in sight. Or maybe the end that seems evident is a gruesome one, an eminent disaster.
“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (this is how Psalm 22 starts, and yes, this is what Jesus cried out on the cross)
I have recently been battling discouragement, mostly due to my circumstances, not from people’s reproach (although I sometimes imagine that people are probably thinking “How come God doesn’t help him? “). Our fight is not against flesh and blood, but it’s a spiritual fight, so I have been taking my discouragement to the Lord in prayer. As I prayed, the Holy Spirit directed me to Psalm 22. As I read through these verses and realized that this psalm of David was a prophecy of what Jesus would experience while on the cross, my view of my circumstances changed. I realized how God is still in control and I needed to trust Him. He has a plan and a purpose. I need to be patient and allow His plan to unfold, and try not to get in the way. He is working in me a godly character.
Compared to what was happening to Jesus on the cross, my circumstances are trivial. Really! How can I even allow discouragement to enter into my mind for a second! How easily we can lose focus of what is happening spiritually. The enemy of our souls wants us to focus on our flesh and this physical world and see our circumstances from a fleshly perspective. The sword of the spirit, the Word of God, can destroy that carnal thinking and re-align us with truth.
Ps 22 vs. 3 thru 5(amplified version):
“But You are holy, oh You Who dwell in the holy place where the praises of Israel are offered. Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, leaned on, relied on You, and were confident, and You delivered them. They cried to You and were delivered; they trusted in, leaned on, and confidently relied on You and were not ashamed or confounded or disappointed.”
God’s word reminds us that the Lord has delivered in the past and will do so today for those who place their trust in Him. This truth is a great encouragement for us as we pass through this life that is full of challenges both from other people and from difficult circumstances that can cause pain, suffering, stress, or all kinds of misery. Christians around the world today, as well as throughout the ages, have faced similar trials and have persevered until God has delivered them according to His will and purpose, and in His timing.
I may have to read this Psalm a few times in the days ahead. When I do, my spirit wells up inside me and I am excited that God knows my circumstances and will keep me from the evil one, or from evil people who may want to destroy me. I know that any weapon that is formed to be used against me will be rendered useless. This is the all powerful, all knowing, faithful and just God who is on our side. When we are finished, or when He is finished with us, we will have great value. The Lord sees us in the light of this great value even now. His plan and purpose for us will be accomplished. My prayer is that I can be a vessel of great honor for Him.
The last verse in Ps 22:
“They shall come and shall declare His righteousness to a people yet to be born – that he has done it (that it is finished)!”
…..and Jesus’ last words on the cross: “It is finished.”