Tissue Boxes


Psalm 31:9-18

I am trusting You, O Lord, saying, “You are my God!” My future is in Your hands (vv.14-15).

As I sat in the surgical waiting room, I had plenty of time to think. I’d been here before. The last time, the outcome was bad—very bad. On that day, we received the news that my only brother was “brain dead”—two devastating words.

Today was different. Alone, I listened to the room’s nervous laughter, intense phone conversations, oblivious children, and the quiet voice of God. I penned a lengthy note to my wife, letting her know how I felt. I prayed.

Soon I learned that the surgeon wanted to see me in a private room. There, in that cloistered space, I would learn the results of my wife’s surgery. As I waited in the secluded room, I noticed two boxes of tissues, conspicuously available.

I knew why the tissues were there. They’re not for the sniffles. They’re for tears. They’re for cruel phrases like “brain dead” and “inoperable.”

Psalm 31 was penned for such cruel phrases. It’s a deeply personal prayer of David, who was in such anguish that he wrote, “My years are shortened by sadness” (v.10). His grief brought the added sorrow of abandonment. “I am . . . despised by my neighbors— even my friends are afraid to come near me” (v.11).

But David dug deeply into his bedrock of faith in the one true God. “I am trusting You, O Lord, saying ‘You are my God!’ My future is in Your hands” (vv.14-15). He knew he could trust the One who had created him.

Back in the private room, the surgeon gave me good news. She told me that my wife could expect a full and complete recovery. I was relieved and deeply grateful! But if all hadn’t been “okay,” I trust that my faith wouldn’t have wavered as I declared, “You are my God!”

—Tim Gustafson


Job 16:11-22 reveals one man’s bewildered anguish at life’s unfairness. How can you relate to these verses?


What times of grief have you experienced? What did God teach you through those times? Why should you trust Him today?



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