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Bones of Character – Part 1 of 3

(9:10am) Monday, 12/19/11

My soul is tired.  Tired of being strong.  Tired of continually believing.  Just … tired.  Selena and I were joking last night that my spiritual muscles are on the thirty-day shred.  It’s beginning to look like the thirty year shred.  I don’t want to sit here and complain … but to simply pray.  I need Your strength this week.  I need Your joy and not my own sorrow.  Help me to trade out again my mourning for Your oil of joy.  My spirit of heaviness for Your garment of praise.  Be my confort today.  This week.  Wednesday.  Christmas Eve.  Christmas Day.  By my comfort.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous.  But the LORD delivers him out of them all.  He guards all his bones, not one is broken.
(Psalm 35: 19-20)

God, through this ongoing trial of waiting for a family, may I not lose faith.  Not ever.  And when I feel my faith falter, may I beeline straight to Your presence.  May I neither lose hope nor love.  Spurgeon calls these bones of character.

“Nay so far from losing these bones of character, they have gained in strength and energy.  I have more knowledge, more experience, more patience, more stability than I had before the trials came.  Not even my joy has been destroyed.  Many a bruise has been healed, and there is no compound fracture of a bone, not even a simple one.  The reason is not far to seek.  If we trust in the LORD, He keeps all our bones; and if He keeps them, we may be sure that not one of them is broken.  Come my heart, do not sorrow.  Thou are smarting, but there are no bones broken.  Endure hardness and bid defiance to fear.” (Faith’s Checkbook, 12/19)

In the same way:
Exodus 12:46 – the Passover lamb shall not have broken bones (also Numbers 9:12)
John 19:36 – Jesus’ bones weren’t broken when He was taken off the cross, though it was customary
2 Corinthians 4:8 – we are hard-pressed on every side yet not crushed.

Then comes Psalm 35:10:
“All my bones shall say, ‘LORD, who is like You delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him…'”

‘These bones which were to have been broken by my enemies shall now praise God … even if worn to skin and bone, yet my very skeleton shall magnify the LORD.” (Spurgeon on Psalm 35:10)

“We can tell how our intestines are affected by our emotions – butterflies in the stomach, etc.  But we have no consciousness of the bones becoming sympathetically sensitive.  The expression therefore is highly practical, and indicates that the joy intended would be far beyond ordinary and common delight, it would be so profound that even the most callous part of the human frame would partake of it.

How true and necessary this is … when I’m facing deeply difficult trials and emotional afflictions that sap any feeling of joy, I can remember the words: all my bones shall say. ‘LORD who is like You?’.

All of my bones.  Unbroken.  Pure.  Strong.  Throughout scripture, broken bones are a picture of sin.  That’s why the Passover lamb was to be without one broken bone.  That’s why Jesus’ legs weren’t broken when He was taken off the cross.  And then it hits me…  conviction so deep and so swift that I can’t get the words out fast enough:

LORD, may my affliction not ever become my sin.

May I be like Job in 1:22 – in all this Job did not sin, nor charge God with a wrong.

May this affliction never become a stronghold of sorrow.  May it not rob me of my joy.  Nor break my faith.

Even when I don’t “feel” it, LORD, may my bones still cry out in joy to You.  Please, God … by my joy.  Be my strength.  Be strength to my bones.

The LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
(Isaiah 58:11)

The Hebrew word for ‘strengthen’ is to make strong, brace up, invigorate.  To make active or vigorous.  Also translated, ‘He shall give they bones rest – rest from the pain and sickness which they have labored under.

LORD, give rest to my weary bones.  And by my joy.