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Heartache and Hope (Psalm 119:28)

My soul weeps because of grief; strengthen me according to Your word.
Psalm 119:28

The writer says that his soul has been made “weary with sorrow.” There are different things one can feel sorrow for: the unregenerate world that is perishing, one’s own sins, the loss—either through death or misunderstanding—of a person who has been close to us. Here the psalmist seems to be expressing sorrow at his abased condition, because he has been rejected, slandered, and humiliated by other people.1

Life in a sinful world is full of sorrows. For the unredeemed, there is no ultimate solace for their sorrows. But for the believer, we have hope and can continue to find purpose in this life. The believer does not rely on their own ability to generate the strength needed in the midst of the great sorrows of life. They do not live by a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” theology.

It is not uncommon for a believer to feel overwhelmed by the circumstances of life. The burden can feel too great to bear. There does not seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. The apostle Paul expresses such sorrows in the midst of his own troubling circumstances:

For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life…
2 Corinthians 1:8

Rather than focus on the overwhelming circumstances of life, the psalmist knows exactly where to get the strength he needs. He prays that God will strengthen him according to God’s word. The believer can have confidence that God is sufficient for our weakness. His strength is never exhausted. It is in God’s word that we gain a greater comprehension of the character of God and His love and care for His children.

Paul understood the benefit of experiencing weakness and uncertainty:

…indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, …
2 Corinthians 1:9–10

When life is going according to our plans, we can begin to have confidence in our abilities. We feel in control of life and capable of dealing with the challenges of life. And then the trials come that we realize are much greater than we would ever be able to cope with on our own. They remind us that we are dependent upon God in every circumstance. He is the all-wise, all-powerful God.

When you find yourself in those overwhelming circumstances, respond as the psalmist did.  Have confidence that God is strong enough to see you through the trial, pray that God will strengthen you according to His word, and be encouraged.

The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.
Psalm 29:11

He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.
Isaiah 40:29


1 Boice, J. M. (2005). Psalms 107–150: An Expositional Commentary (p. 985). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Rocky Wyatt

Rocky Wyatt came to know the Lord as a young teenager and began working in youth ministry when in college. After serving in churches in Utah, California and Colorado, Rocky moved to Texas to serve as Youth Pastor at Countryside Bible Church. He served there for 26 years where he eventually moved from youth ministry to serve as an Associate Pastor.

Over the course of his ministry, Rocky has always had a desire to train men for pastoral ministry in the context of the local church. In 1992 he started XL Ministries, an organization that is committed to helping churches establish intensive internships for pastoral training. In 2020 he left his position at Countryside Bible Church to become the Executive Director of XL Ministries and now works full time assisting churches in training men for ministry.

He is co-author of The Youth Ministry Training Manual, a textbook for training youth pastors, and has also written multiple other resources for use in various local church ministries. He is currently working on a book to encourage churches to take the primary responsibility to train pastors.

Rocky is married to Pamela, has two sons and daughters-in-law, and ten grandchildren. 

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.1 Corinthians 15:58