The Lord is my Portion, Even in the Midst of Suffering
My Cup Overflows
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him,” (Lamentations 3:24).
The Bible uses the word “portion” mainly referring to one’s share of food. But according to Jeremiah 13: 25 and Psalm 16:5, someone’s portion is their “lot” in life, or inheritance. What does this mean for people who seem to have a bad lot? I would like to share my story with you as an example.
I was diagnosed with brain cancer and seizures as a child. The next 5 years consisted of chemo, radiation, multiple brain surgeries, and too many hospital stays. I had a large portion of my brain removed, and a lot of what’s left on the right side of my brain is extremely damaged. Though I’ve been in remission for 10 years now, I still daily face brain damage and the consequences of what it took to save my life. I’ve gone through periods of stability, but right now I seem to be going downhill. I’ve recently lost a lot of basic independence and it’s very possible that I won’t get it back. Though we haven’t found anything visibly wrong, my brain isn’t communicating properly to my nerves, which is causing me to be in constant pain and for my body to not work the way it should. My doctors believe that this is chronic, meaning it will likely never go away. Is this my portion?
Like the author of Lamentations, I grieve the life that I once had and my future that looks very different now. Lamentations was written around the time of the fall of Jerusalem. Chapter 3 is very powerful for those who are suffering. The author talks about his afflictions in the first half of the chapter, and shares his raw grief over it. It is rare for someone to honestly admit their doubts, their anger towards the Lord, and the feeling of hopelessness that we so often face when we’ve lost everything. But then the author remembers his core beliefs. In verses 21-24 he says,
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’”
You see, my portion is not my suffering, but the Lord himself. As an adopted child of God, I have an inheritance, which is Jesus Christ. God repeats this to his people all throughout the Old Testament. In Numbers 18:20, “The Lord said to Aaron, ‘You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any portion among them. I am your portion and your inheritance among the people of Israel.” This idea is also found in Deuteronomy 10:9, Psalm 16:5, Psalm 73:26, and Psalm 142:5.
My portion is a perfect and innocent man being punished and killed for my sins so that I am free and now a child of God. My portion is not that I have to depend on people and things to meet the basic needs in life, but that I get to depend on Christ for even the smallest things. My portion is not the frequent sleepless nights, but a God who will neither slumber nor sleep. My portion is not the weariness of fighting constant battles. It is having a Heavenly Father who fights for me. My portion is being assured, as I wonder if God really knows my pain, that my savior went through excruciating pain that I can’t even even imagine as he hung on that cross for me. Though facing disabilities and brain damage likely forever, my portion is that my forever is not even worth comparing to the eternal weight of glory that will be revealed to me. Some may see my portion as a cup half-empty. But in reality, “my cup overflows,” (Psalm 23:5-6).