A post from several years ago about relying on the Gospel for our strength.
21They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink. Psalm 69:21
This verse makes me think a lot. As I read it the other day my initial thought was; what is gall? I looked at the text notes at the bottom of the page in my study Bible, but they did not help. So I pulled a Bible dictionary off my shelf to gain some insight. I looked up gall and found out that this particular use of it may be referring to myrrh. So I looked up myrrh. Myrrh is gum resin from a shrubby tree which grows in this region of the world. The color varies from a pale reddish yellow to reddish brown to red. The taste is bitter. The substance is astringent, and can be used as an antiseptic or a stimulant. It was also used as perfume (was a gift from the magi). In the New Testament myrrh was often used as a key ingredient in a pharmaceutical mixture to deaden pain. This verse is foreshadowing the day when Christ will hang on the cross, and they will offer Him the gall mixture to deal with the pain. If you fast-forward to that event, you will see that Christ refuses.
Maybe it is because of what is currently going on in my life, but this verse not only makes me think; it comforts and motivates me. My life is going through a deep valley of sorts, and there is tremendous pain and hurt. Today, as I have spent time studying, reading, and writing, I have hurt deeply. My heart is aching, and there is a desire to just put on some “comfy clothes”, as my nephew calls them, and curl up in bed and shut out everything and everyone. This verse causes that desire to die. Jesus was in pain on the cross. More pain than we could ever imagine. He was offered a drug to soothe that pain. He refused. Sometimes, the way to work through, and deal with deep emotional hurt is to press on. There is a country song that has been out about a year now, entitled If You’re Going Through Hell. I love the chorus: “if you’re going through hell, keep on going, don’t slow, if you’re scared don’t show it, you might get out, before the devil even knows you’re there.” Now I don’t want to break this song lyric down theologically here, but I think there is some truth to this. I think we see that truth as Jesus is offered gall on the cross. He does not seek to deaden the pain or lessen the hurt. Instead, he keeps about His Father’s work.
Life is hard. There are times of long sustained hurt. Today leave His footprints by fighting through that pain and focusing on Him. Do His work and don’t seclude yourself from the world.