Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
The apostle here suggests the grand resource for affliction — it is God. We would render the word "pray," not in its narrower import of mere petitioning, but in its more enlarged construction, of converse, of fellowship, with God.
I. GOD, THE EXCHANGE, THE COMPENSATION, FOR FORFEITED JOYS. If the poor child of adversity would be persuaded to lift himself from that scene of his sore travail to the fountain of supreme blessedness, to soar from that shipwreck of his creature joys to the uncreated centre of joy, then would he solve the grand moral of affliction. There is nothing but mockery in those spurious expedients of relief to which the worldling resorts. But there is ineffable beatitude in God. What a transition! From "broken cisterns, which can hold no water," to "the fountain of living waters"; from fallacious and treacherous joys to the fountain of perennial joy; from the very wreck and demolition of earthly hopes to Him who is the sun and consummation of all hope. Even believers are slow to make God their prime solace. They are prone to transfer themselves to some new idol when one has been taken away; to dear with a morbid tenacity on visions of the past; to feed on the dust and ashes of their own profuse lamentations — the morose wakings of excessive grief. To all such the watchword prescribes itself — Betake you to God.
II. GOD, THE CENTRE OF THE SOUL'S FELLOWSHIP. It is very marked, in the history of affliction, what a charm communion of mind with mind exerts. If there be any unison of sentiment at all, the reciprocity which occurs is most congenial; in point of fact it is one of the expedients to which affliction betakes itself to arrest the converse of kindred minds. There is probably no more potent creature resource. And we have only to estimate what a transcendent charm must lie in fellowship with God, in communion with Him who is consummate wisdom and excellence, and truth and benignity.
III. GOD, THE FOUNTAIN OF EXHAUSTLESS SYMPATHIES. There is nothing which exerts such a charm in the hour of adversity as tender, sensitive fellow-feeling. And hence the downcast and sorrowful seek some sympathetic bosom into which they may pour their griefs. But for a sympathy surpassing all other sympathies, we point you to Christ. Repair to that bosom, all fraught with fellow-feeling; throw thyself into the embrace of that yearning tenderness.
IV. GOD, A PRESENT HELP IN TROUBLE. There are two aspects in which this holds good. On the one hand, God is specially ready to ]end His ear in the day of His people's affliction; and, next, the succour which He supplies is specially adapted to their emergency.
Parallel VersesKJV: Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.