How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Can this be a common experience? Many of us would say so. Sorrow is an excellent discipline, and a healing medicine. Let us notice a few of our sorrows.
I. THERE IS THAT OF OUR LONELY PATH. Many people find a friend, husband, wife, business, pleasure on which they can lean, but there comes a time when you feel helpless. Sometimes you say, "There is nobody who has to walk in a path like mine." This is true, but then we all feel the same. Let our loneliness teach us to seek the presence of God. You will always be disappointed until you feel the touch of God.
II. THAT WHICH IS TOO PAINFUL TO RECEIVE SYMPATHY IN WORDS. See the history of Job, when his three friends came to mourn with him. "None spake a word unto him; for the) saw that his grief was very great." None but God can comfort you.
III. THAT WHICH ARISES FROM DOUBT. Satan said to our Lord, "If Thou be the Son of God." So we all feel at times, and we say, "Is there really a God?" "Can He care for me? No," seems the answer to everything at times. You may have a medicine chest in your house, which may help you in slight disorders; but there may come a time when it fails, and you look for other help. And so, at times, the Bible, the Church, and the minister are like that medicine chest, and you turn from each, saying, "I cannot obtain any relief there." At such time go into your room, shut your door, and speak to God Himself. It is a sin to doubt if you make it despair. Last night, when I went up to bed, my little child called out, "Papa, I am so afraid!" I comforted her, and said, "Don't be afraid, dear!" She whispered, "Papa, leave your door wide open, and then I can go to sleep." I went to my room, and let the door bang against the chair, to let the little one hear that it was wide open. The thought that my door was wide open, and that my care reached her from my room to hers rested her little, anxious heart, and she slept the sleep of the innocent. In your doubts and fears keep fast hold on this fact — that Jesus Christ is God's door, wide open for you.
IV. THAT FROM TEMPORAL LOSSES. A ruined merchant came home one afternoon earlier than usual, and, sitting in his chair, buried his face in his hands. When his wife touched him on the shoulder he exclaimed, in a groan like as from a man who is being buried alive, "Mary, I have lost all! I am ruined!" She said, "But, James, you have not lost me!" Then a sweet child came up, saying, "Father, you haven't lost me either!" One of his daughters said, "Father, have you lost God? Another asked, Father, have you lost heaven? Stupid man, he said he was ruined! Fancy a man saying he has lost "all" when he has at least one or two kind friends, and also a loving God and a blessed heaven!
V. THAT FROM SIN. There is great sorrow in the heart of a sinner, and it is well to be so. It would be a calamity else. The wages of sin is the death of happiness, but the life of misery.
VI. THAT FROM BEREAVEMENT. Some of you keep relics of your departed ones. The boy's rusty knife, with only one blade, and that broken; but how the eyes of the mother glisten when she looks on that old knife. Here is a toy soldier, without a head; but see the tear of that strong man drop thereon. Ah, your children who have gone from you! Are they not the Lord's magnets to draw you up to heaven?
Parallel VersesKJV: How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?