Written by Mike Verkaik
I’m not sure how many years ago it was, but I remember the day I finally looked up the word “buffet” in the dictionary. I had sung It Is Well With My Soul by Horatio Spafford countless times in various settings before, but for some reason on that Sunday I needed to know what I was crying out when I sang the lyrics, “When Satan should buffet and trials should come.” Looking at the definition, I told myself, that makes sense. Buffet – to strike repeatedly; to strike sharply especially with the hand.
Over the past few weeks, I have been feeling and witnessing the repeated strikes as I partner with residents, talk with mentees, and walk with family members. Life has been more unpredictable than normal and I am feeling the blows through others who have experienced backsliding, sorrows, illnesses, depression and distressing difficulties. The latest strike was the news of my sister’s diagnosis of lung cancer. For a woman who had protected her lungs from substances, it was a decisive and shocking blow.
Feeling the full force of the strikes of brokenness, I cried out to God saying, “I can’t handle watching anymore people go through brokenness.” I resonate with pieces of David’s prayer of lament:
I’m pleading with you, Yahweh, help me! Don’t close your ears to my cry, for you’re my defender. If you continue to remain aloof and refuse to answer me, I might as well give up and die. Hear my cry for help as I turn to your mercy seat, as I lift up my hands toward your sacred sanctuary. Psalm 28:1-2 TPT
Have you ever cried out like that to your Father? Honest, broken and pleading for your Lord and Defender to hear your cry for help? I have found myself waking up many mornings lately with a simple and desperate prayer, “Help me!” What an incredible loving God that listens to us as we cry out with compassion and love. There is no need to pretend or hold it together in front of Him. He encourages us and shows us through the heart of David how to let out our emotions as we feel the effects of the war we are in against the world, our sinful nature and our advisory.
Another remarkable attribute of God is as He holds us and listens, He brings us back to the assurance of our salvation and the love that He has for us in the midst of the battle. Listen to the full stanza written by Horitio:
When Satan should buffet and trials should come Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
The truth of the gospel is what brings us to restoration as our soul aches for the brokenness to stop. The realization again of the love our Abba Father has lavished on us through the blood of the lamb heals our wounds and our defeated attitude. So once again I resonate with the words of David and He brings us into our Father’s presence and the reassurance of whose we are through praise and thanksgiving:
Yahweh is my strength and my wraparound shield. When I fully trust in you, help is on the way. I jump for joy and burst forth with ecstatic, passionate praise. I will sing songs of what you mean to me! You will be the inner strength of all your people. Psalm 28: 7-8
If you are feeling the buffeting of our enemy, may Abba lead you to the place where you can say, It is well with my soul.