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Monday: Trust in Times of Trouble — 30 Comments

  1. Yes, I know that rain falls on those who put there trust in the Lord equally to those who do not put their trust in the Lord. We do need to take all our troubles to Him in prayer always. As we do so, we find that by doing so our troubles are there, but are very much bearable. Sometimes, they are removed instantly or in the Lord's time. Reluctance to take our troubles to the Lord in prayer also diapates with our experience of Him emensly decreasing our burden, because we poured our our hearts to Him without reserve.
    Psalms 34:6.

    Interesting David's pouring out his heart to God in Psalms 44 had an immediate positive effect in Psalms 45:1.

    • Correction not David rather Psalm 44 and Psalm 45 were written by the sons of Korah.
      Though does not really matter. All of the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

  2. Hospital walls hummed a sterile symphony of beeps and whispers. Abdominal pain, a rogue tenant in my gut, defied diagnosis. Days blurred into one another. Doctors poked and prodded, their hurried consultations leaving me adrift in uncertainty. Each morning, Carmel appeared, a beacon of sunlight in the fluorescent glare. She wouldn't lecture on patience or preach platitudes. She'd simply settle beside me, unfurl a book, and her silent presence wove a tapestry of comfort far stronger than any CT scan. In her quietude, I understood that healing sometimes whispers in the language of presence, not miracles.

    Our modern-day narratives often paint God as a celestial fixer, swift and efficient. But life, a tangled tapestry of joy and sorrow, rarely unravels according to our scripts. Yet, like Carmel beside the ailing, God's presence, if we invite it, remains a constant. A hand extended in the darkness, even when answers elude us.

    And then there are the laments, raw and ragged prayers that tear through the stillness. Anger, confusion, a child's primal scream against the veil of the unknown. In those moments, we face a different calling - not to offer trite pronouncements, but to become God's ears, vessels of patient listening. Like weary parents pacing the midnight halls, cradling a storm-wracked infant, we hold not solutions, but a presence, a steady heartbeat against the chaos. Sometimes, that's all that's needed, a quiet harbor in the tempest.

    Sometimes we adults are like that too. We need to be held and it is times like that we need to be God's arms.

    (PS I wrote this but Bard.ai had a go at it too. And if you need to know the end of the hospital story: the doctors split me open like a banana, found what was wrong and all I have to remind me of it is a scar down the length of my abdomen)

    • Hey Maurice gm, at the beginning of the year you challenged us to write our own Psalms right! all you need to do is add some numbers to the first paragraph. If I do it, I will charge you and then comes the copyright.

    • I liked your testimony and was especially moved by "I understood that healing sometimes whispers in the language of presence, not miracles." And "God's presence, if we invite it, remains a constant. A hand extended in the darkness, even when answers elude us." It is the calm assurance of His presence and willingness to listen that keeps the believer going forward

  3. “Thou hast rejected us and brought us to dishonor” (Ps. 44:9)
    “Thou dost sell Thy people cheaply” (Ps. 44:12)
    “Thou dost make us a reproach to our neighbors” (Ps. 44:14)
    “Arouse Thyself, why dost Thou sleep, O Lord? Awake….(Ps. 44:23)

    These are all defamatory lies about God. God does not reject us, sell us, make us a reproach, or sleep and need us to awaken Him to the troubles we are experiencing. Does God silence the speaker? No. Why? I am grateful that God gives us freedom of speech in the truest sense - He listens with interest (freedom of speech AND freedom of reach all the way to heaven!), as well as allows us to publish our words, because through this freedom He is guiding us to discover truth. Maybe the truth for this psalmist to discover is:

    ”The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.” Prov. 10:11

    At the beginning of the psalm, we see that Israel's fathers are passing life on to their children (Ps. 44:1-3,7-8) by rehearsing all that God has done for them (Deut. 6:6-7,20-25). But as the psalmist considers Israel's helpless state, he contends that Israel has remained true to God and God is not being fair or attentive to His people. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Something happened. The psalmist is feeling threatened so he is looking away from God. His own mouth is proof that Ps. 44:17 is not true: Israel did not remain loyal to God, just as he himself is now questioning God's character. Both he and Israel HAVE forgotten God. The proof is that he is attacking the Hand that feeds him.

    Jesus said to be more concerned about what is coming out of the mouth than focused on what is going in (Matt. 15:11). Many things enter in - blessings and troubles. What comes out, though, shapes our character. If our hearts are right with God, our mouths are not a "factory" of life, ie. we don't have to work at saying the right things. Our mouths are to be "fountains" of life. Clean refreshing things will bubble out of us when we are rooted in right relationship with Jesus. We need to keep drinking at the fountain of life in God's Word, rehearsing His goodness, telling our testimonies.

    Our mouths will feed many (Prov. 10:21) - we can feed people with truth about God's character rather than starve people through silence and empty speech. God allows us to speak foolishly so we can experience this starvation even for ourselves and run back to Him to be filled. Job learned this lesson after questioning God's providence during a low point in his life: he finally comes to acknowledgement that he had ".... uttered what I did not understand,things too wonderful for me, which I did not know" (Job 42:3).

    Our mouths can heal people (Prov. 12:18) - with words of grace and patience and kindness, not wound people with insensitive, critical, harsh words. I like to think the psalmist got tired of his own complaint and finished by remembering that God is a redeeming merciful God (Ps. 44:26). Critical and harsh words against God hurt ourselves.

    Our mouths can deliver people (Prov. 12:6) - by leading them to Jesus and advocating for them during attacks from others and from Satan's accusations, rather than joining in the attack. Satan wants us to believe that God is asleep to our needs. Jesus wants us to see that words like "Master, don't you care that we perish?" cause us to be fearful and zap the strength of our faith. The quicker we bring our troubles to Him, the quicker we hear and experience "Peace, be still (and watch God deliver you)" (Mark 4:38-40).

    • “Thou hast rejected us and brought us to dishonor” (Ps. 44:9)
      “Thou dost sell Thy people cheaply” (Ps. 44:12)
      “Thou dost make us a reproach to our neighbors” (Ps. 44:14)
      “Arouse Thyself, why dost Thou sleep, O Lord? Awake….(Ps. 44:23)

      These are all defamatory lies about God.

      Oh, my, Esther, that may be a bit too harsh!

      Is a lie not an attempt to deceive? Do you think the writer (and the people who sang the song later) attempted to deceive anyone - much less God, to whom they were singing this prayer?

      I see this psalm is an expression of *feeling,* like so many others.

      Who has not at times felt rejected by God? Who has not at times felt that God wasn't paying attention - like in sleeping? The fact that it is found in the sacred writings assures us that God understands our feelings, and we don't need to pretend to be happy when we are feeling really "down."

      (At the same time, I "get" your message: We are not to talk about our discouragements to others, because we might discourage them as well. We need to talk positively, and we will likely feel better.) But then there are times ... And we should always be free to express our feelings to God - even the negative ones. And if we truly address God in our hearts, He will remind us of His "steadfast love" to help us hang on and even lift our spirits. (And sometimes He understands that we need some real encouragement, and He acts - like He did for me years ago, when I really felt like my belly was dragging on the ground, though I was, in fact lying across my bed, crying out my despair to God, feeling utterly forsaken, not knowing where to turn. And then the phone rang. It was a pastor we knew from half-way across the country, and he was likely calling about some business. He was the only person in the whole world who could understand the local situation and minister to me. And minister to me he did, for a whole hour or so. Nearly 50 years later, I still don't know the purpose of his call, other than that God spoke to me through him. God is so GOOD! )

      For years I found much good in other parts of the Bible, but not so much in the psalms. Maybe it's because I am, by nature, very cerebral, rather than emotionally oriented. But I have learned to appreciate the psalms because they cover such a wide range of emotions. And I do know that emotions drive our actions - even mine.

      So now I delight in the Psalms as expressions of deep-felt emotion. Right now, I am particularly enjoying the many sorts of poetic parallelism - finding parallelism within parallelism, as well as the vivid imagery in the psalms - like

      25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust;
      our belly clings to the ground.

      That's feeling low enough to crawl on the belly, like a snake! A hyperbole, I'm sure, and hyperbole is an effective poetic device.

      I notice that most psalms that begin negatively end on a high note - even this one:

      Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!

      The song writer's trust in God's "steadfast love" is not dimmed, even amidst the feelings of abandonment.

      It reminds me of the chorus of a song contemporary in my youth:

      Real joy is mine
      No matter if teardrops start
      I've found the secret
      It's Jesus in my heart

      You can hear it sung by the Heritage Singers on Youtube.

      • Hi Dear Inge, I'm so glad you responded because I've been musing about some of these things all day and it's nice to have a chance to go deeper.

        First of all, I want to clarify that the last part of my initial post is actually the opposite of "watch what we say because it might discourage others". I am impressed that Prov. 10:11 calls the mouths of the righteous "fountains of life"....NOT "factories" or workplaces of life-giving words. I don't want to carefully craft what comes out of my mouth to make it sound life-giving to God or to others. Finding righteous-sounding words to say without the words being fueled by trust in God's saving power is like what 2 Tim. 3:5 says about having a "form of godliness but denying the power thereof". We are called to be "fountains" of life. A fountain is fed by underground streams and bubbles up uncontrollably. I want what bubbles out of me to be uncontrollably praise to God, fed by keeping my mind on God's Word and God's character. Just like Paul and Silas singing in prison after being whipped. When stagnant water, shall we say, sometimes dribbles out of my mouth, I think it means that for that time I've stopped drinking from the Fountain of Life and turned to something else for hope and joy. I don't want to excuse that in myself.

        Now to your point that people may have low, depressed feelings and they need to be able to express those feelings, even feelings of doubt or negativity....absolutely! I agree and said something similar in a couple of posts last week. For example, for Sabbath's lesson, December 29:

        So I love how the psalms model for us how in prayer we can offer God back all of our emotions, none of them are off-limits, there are no wrong emotions. Some emotions show up because of lack of faith, that’s true, but if we’re honest about the fact that we are harboring these emotions, God can help us work through them into a place of praise and trust.

        Having said that, in going deeper, I'm seeing how what we say to God, even in private, shows us the condition of our faith. We see that Jesus did gently chastise the disciples for crying out in fear in the boat during the storm. He didn't say, "It's understandable, guys, that you were afraid." We are to grow in character until we get to the point that what comes out of our mouths is never railing against God. Job is another example, God did not say, "It's ok Job that you challenged my character and sovereignty." No, God told Job that he spoke foolishly to question God's goodness and providence and complain.

        Now I have to admit I chuckled a bit at your response of "Oh my, Esther, that may be a bit too harsh". If we look at Ronald Ashley's modernized version of Psalm 44 we can see even more that the psalmist was saying all sorts of outrageous untruths about God. I'm going to stand by "defamatory lies" and here's why....and also some background....

        I borrowed that terminology from today's hot debate surrounding issues of freedom of speech. The USA has experienced increasing political polarization and some argue that certain viewpoints are being suppressed, canceled ("cancel culture"), banned, ridiculed, silenced due to ideological differences. The First Amendment protects freedom of expression, but the law does not protect what is considered "defamatory lies or fighting words which are likely to incite imminent lawless action".

        So in light of this, if God was an earthly ruler or the CEO of a social platform like Twitter, He would likely shut down talk such as in Psalm 44. It paints God in a false light and leads us to want to rebel against such a ruler. Do we want a ruler who "delivers us like sheep to a butcher", "sells us at a discount", "makes people on the street urchins and then pokes fun and call us names", "sleeps all day", etc.? The psalmist's rhetoric sounds a lot like the disciples saying "Don't you care that we perish?" I am deeply grateful that God does not shut down our account or ostracize us for what we say. He always listens and helps us to grow through our words.

        Here's what I was thinking about today, based on Matt. 15:11. What goes into our hearts and minds feeds our character (Phil 4:8), but what comes out of our hearts and minds through our mouths SHAPES our character. Edits our character. Just like a photograph starts to edit the memories we might have of a vacation - we may start to remember only scenes from the photographs and forget other details of our trip - so the words that come out of our mouths are pictures that shape how we see our experiences. We tend to believe what comes out of our mouths.

        Sometimes, God sends a friend to help us shape our story so that we end up going deeper into experiencing God's love in a trying time....like God sent you a friend.
        Thanks so much for sharing your story and resources....they're a blessing to me. Much love to you, Inge, and Happy New Year!

        • Thanks for the reply, Esther 😊 A Happy New Year to you too!
          I love this imagery:

          I am impressed that Prov. 10:11 calls the mouths of the righteous "fountains of life"....NOT "factories" or workplaces of life-giving words. I don't want to carefully craft what comes out of my mouth to make it sound life-giving to God or to others.

          And I agree with all you say so beautifully following that.

          But back to your standing by your assessment of Psalm 44. I'm still not convinced that pouring out our souls to God - the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, is "lying." It can't be so when we are talking to God! It might be "lying" if we were talking about Him. But then, the psalm both begins and ends with references to God's mighty works and his love .... so I still dunno ..

          As for what God would do as a Twitter, exec, I'd like you to listen to Ty Gibson's Christmas message (It's good for all year), and get back to us. 😉 Others eavesdroppping on this conversation are welcome to join in! (I've just learned to embed videos in comments. Can you tell?? 😉) Ty applies the Great Controversy theme in a way that totally resonates with me. How do you see it, literally? Do you still think God would shut down talk that misrepresents Him?
          Here's Ty on the "Hope at Night" series on Hope Channel. (You'll be seeing it on Youtube because I don't know how to show it to you on HopeTV. I think the message is really worth the time necessary to watch it. It's literally claimed a space in my head!

          And I think Ronald Ashley put an errant "if" in his last sentence that is not there in the original.

          The original says, "Because of your constant love save us!" Ps 44:26. Distance between "If" and "Because" is about as much as the distance between the East and the West!

          • I tend to side with Inge in this discussion. I can see Job writing a psalm like this. The book of Job does not list his shortcomings, but I am sure that he had them, and I am sure that he knew it. But he didn't understand why he was suffering so much now when God had blessed him in the past. I would like to know when this psalm was written. Was it during a time that Israel was farther from or nearer to God? If we say that it must have been when they were farther from God, then do we not become as Job's friends who said that he must be a great sinner because he was suffering so? Maybe at this time Israel had gone through a reformation and a revival and the author didn't understand why they should still suffer. And when we are suffering, it does feel as though God has abandoned us. This is a natural tendency that we must, with God's help, learn to overcome. Paul quotes Psalm 44:22 in the middle of his reassurance to us in Romans 8:35-39 that nothing can separate us from God's love.

            • Thank you, Joe. I agree it's a natural tendency to feel like God has abandoned us in difficult times...and that it is a tendency to overcome. I think I'm going that extra step to call the "natural tendency" a "sinful tendency". Sinful not because he is suffering and expressing feelings about that, but sinful if the feelings are distrustful-of-God feelings. This was the original sin...Eve did not trust that God had her best interest at heart. She listened to Satan's lie that God was trying to keep wisdom and something good from her. Heb. 3:12-14 tells us to warn each other if we harbor unbelief in our hearts as that leads to falling away from God. Rom. 14:23 tells us that whatever is not from faith is sin. I love that you quote Rom. 8:35-39, that is a powerful promise to keep in our hearts to guard against the untruth that God has abandoned us or doesn't care.

          • Thanks, Inge, I'll watch that video.

            Maybe it's a wordchoice issue. A picture comes to mind. If I had a child who was upset about going to bed when he wanted to play and who then started crying and calling me a "meany, you hate me, you're a horrible mother, you like to see me suffer, you don't care about me" etc....I would say that he was telling untruths about my character. Could we say those were lies about me? I guess I am saying "yes" and you are saying "no".

            So,it's one thing to not understand why we are being asked of God to go through something and question why and tell God that we don't like it, it's another to name-call and assume that God has it out for us.

            Now I certainly wouldn't punish my child for expressing his feelings, and would listen to him, allow him to speak, and reassure him of my love. But I would want him to learn to respect me as his parent, ie. to think of me respectfully in his inner thoughts, and learn to use respectful language about me. I would hope and pray that he would grow out of that distrustful response and learn to trust me and the ways I was guiding his life. God is calling me, personally, to respect Him more in my inner thoughts, and to trust Him no matter what.

            On another note, and this is conjecture, but if the psalms are chronologically arranged and Psalms 1-72 are written primarily by King David, then it's interesting to me that Ps. 44 may have been written before Ps. 51 in time. In other words, David may have written Ps. 44 before his season of turning away from God's Spirit to kill a man to pursue his wife Bathsheba. If so, we see that God allows complaining thoughts to play themselves out fully, even if it leads to a fall and disobedience and a difficult lesson, rather than to prematurely silence us. So I am in agreement with you that God DOES NOT shut us down talk when we use words that misrepresent Him....he allows our thoughts and words to play themselves out. But He always warns us ....just like He did for Cain's angry thoughts (Gen. 4:7).

            • Well, Esther, when you put it *that* way - as a rebellious child calling a parent names instead of obeying, I'd have to agree with you. I just don't see the psalm writer with that kind of attitude. He's not disobedient. He's more like a sobbing child lost in a department store, feeling abandoned by his mom. Perhaps the child ought to have more faith, but ...

              You see how there are always several ways of seeing things? Let me know what you get out of the video. I'm sure you will be blessed

              Re the arrangement of the Psalms: I don't believe they are chronologically arranged, since the Song of Moses is in Psalm 90. I got the idea that they are thematically arranged.
              It seems that David's psalms/songs are mixed in with Asaph's psalms, and I got the idea that David composed most of his psalms before he became king, but I could be wrong. Maybe the lessons will tell us more.

    • To be honest, I actually appreciated the perspective of the lesson and how it encouraged us to read the less "praise and happy" psalms in worship. I think the author may be on to something.

      When people are always happy and praising and you are struggling, you feel like a spiritual failure. It feels like something is wrong with you. Now no doubt many people are privately struggling with their faith etc. but I never know that. I appreciate people being real.

      I'm certainly aware of the Ellen White quote that we shouldn't share any of our struggles with others, but I don't know if I hold that to be an absolute principle for every person in every situation, especially since there are other Bible verses that seem to suggest otherwise (ie. Galatians 6:2, Romans 12:15 among others). I realize some won't approve of me evaluating Ellen White and I'm not disagreeing with her, just saying that that principle has to be considered along with every other principle. I can't see how you can bear the burdens of others and mourn with them if they never take their struggles to you.

      As for Job, yes, he recognized his perspective was limited. That being said, God declared him righteous and not his friends even though they said lots of pious things about God and probably would have been more welcome at church than Job would be.

      My church is going through some very tough times that are not fair at all. I may suggest that we include some of these "harsh" Psalms in our worship. Perhaps that will actually help us.

      • Yup, the Job perspective is helpful. All his friends said marvelous things about God - with not a single complaint. Yet God judged Job to be righteous, not them! (They did believe that God was punishing Job, which was not true. Job actually had that belief background as well, but his conscience was clear, and he didn't know why God would do such a thing to him. In spite of that he clung to God ... )

        I believe God wants us to be honest with Him - even when we may be upset with Him, and that can happen, depending on our level of experience with Him. Faking that we are happy when we are not will get us nowhere ...

    • "our mouths are not a "factory" of life, ie. we don't have to work at saying the right things. Our mouths are to be "fountains" of life. Clean refreshing things will bubble out of us when we are rooted in right relationship with Jesus."
      Pure poetry. These words beautifully express truth

  4. 1–3 44 We’ve been hearing about this, God, all our lives. Our fathers told us the stories. Their fathers told them, how single-handedly you weeded out the godless from the fields and planted us, how you sent those people packing.
    but gave us a fresh start. We didn’t fight for this land. We didn’t work for it—it was a gift!
    You gave it, smiling as you gave it, delighting as you gave it.
    4–8 You’re my King, O God— command victories for Jacob! With your help we’ll wipe out our enemies, in your name we’ll stomp them to dust. I don’t trust in weapons.my sword won’t save me—But it’s you, you who saved us from the enemy. You made those who hate us lose face. All day we parade God’s praise—we thank you by name over and over.
    9–12 But now you’ve walked off and left us, you’ve disgraced us and won’t fight for us. You made us turn tail and run. You delivered us as sheep to the butcher, you scattered us to the four winds. You sold your people at a discount—you made nothing on the sale.
    13–16 You made people on the street, urchins, poke fun and call us names. You made us a joke among the godless, a cheap joke among the rabble. Every day I’m up against it, my nose rubbed in my shame— Gossip and ridicule fill the air, people out to get me crowd the street.
    17–19 All this came down on us, and we’ve done nothing to deserve it. We never betrayed your Covenant: our hearts were never false; our feet never left your path. Do we deserve torture in a den of jackals? Or lockup in a black hole?
    20–22 If we had forgotten to pray to our God or made fools of ourselves with store-bought gods, Wouldn’t God have figured this out? We can’t hide things from him. No, you decided to make us martyrs, lambs assigned for sacrifice each day.
    23–26 Get up, God! Are you going to sleep all day? Wake up! Don’t you care what happens to us? Why do you bury your face in the pillow? Why pretend things are just fine with us? And here we are—flat on our faces in the dirt, held down with a boot on our necks. Get up and come to our rescue. If you love us so much, Help us!

  5. Trust in times of trouble, mmmmm. I dare to say when one believes in the power of God and His promises “trust in times of trouble,” seems almost easy to do at the onset. Hey, I have seen and felt Him work before, He will come through again (faith, hope, all the miracles are on high expectation). However, when the situation lingers, is prolonged, the resources He blessed us with seem inadequate, the hearts of men seemed hardened, forgiveness seems a distant dream; one wonders….

    I have come to the realization that God’s time is NOT my time. The Lord continues to save us from our enemies and ourselves (even if we brought the trouble upon ourselves). Life, it may not always be clear cut but the “incremental blessings” can’t be ignored. If we are limiting God to working in ways that are obvious to us then we stand to miss His grace and blessings that are there to show us that He is indeed present in “times of trouble.”

    May our times of trouble draw us closer to God and not further away irrespective of how hard a journey it may be.

  6. Anger, feeling alone, keeping Jesus at arms length is not having the best relationship with Him that we can have. Jesus is big enough to deal with our negative emotions and when those bring us to our knees to share them with Him, He is invited to come closer and enfold us in His arms. And because of Jesus being ever more involved in our lives our anger, etc. gets less and less.

    Praise Him!

  7. The God of the past is the same today. I can confidently trust Him today because He answered my prayer(s) yesterday. Praise His name.

  8. Is not the aim of our redemption from sin and death all about trusting our heavenly Father? How can we trust Him we do not know? Those believing in His Son acknowledge to be God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, …” Being a new creation, we need to learn to trust the One who creates us anew in Christ Jesus - Eph.2:10.

    Our focus in life is not to make us more comfortable in our surroundings, but to learn to trust and love the God of our Salvation in which ever circumstances we find ourselves. We are invited to place our burdens on His shoulders, because trusting Him will give us rest – Matt.11:27-29.

    In good times and in troublesome times – you are my God of joy!
    In doubt and despair – you are my God of comfort!
    In oppression and confoundment – you are my God of refuge!
    In ridicule and contempt – you are my safe foundation!
    You watch over me at all times - you are the God of my Salvation!
    In you I trust!

  9. I do not like Psalms 44 because I do not like the way it ends. Most of the time when I read the Psalms they will transition from a doubt or problem to a solution or peace. This Psalm however leaves me feeling unsettled.

    I consider this the Psalm of a martyr... there is no happy ending and we are left to find peace only in our faith and not in any visible display. It causes us to question if my sins have hidden God's face from me (Isaiah 59:2). When like Job we find that we have not sinned and we have kept our faith in God (despite the accusations of others) we are left to question the goodness of God which only by faith and not by sight can we see. Then the choice remains for us to trust in God - that He is faithful even in out death and when all seems lost(Job 13:15, Daniel 3:18).

    Jesus experienced this kind of faith in the Father when He was in Gethsemane and on the cross.

    No I do not like this Psalms because it pushes me to accept things that I do not want to and still put my Faith in God.I am reassured that God is open to my rantings and accusations and difficulty in this process as long as I maintain my Faith in Him. These experiences are never pretty but they are real and by faith they are accounted for righteousness. I can vent frustrations and feelings and maintain faith...it is also important that I am honest with God to express and deal with my feelings so that I can trust Him with all things.

    Peter held to his strong conviction not to forsake Jesus even if all others did or he had to die. He found out what not spending time in prayer with God wrestling with doubts and fears and expectations brings - failure and denying Christ.

    In the end I think fighting the good fight of faith involved engaging the ugly and difficult struggles we find in our own hearts so that we can maintain a faith in God despite what we see.


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