“ Hear my prayer, O LORD;
let my cry come to you!
Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my distress!
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call!
For my days pass away like smoke,
and my bones burn like a furnace.
My heart is struck down like grass and has withered;
I forget to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning
my bones cling to my flesh.”
How many of us can identify what the psalmist is saying? Even if we do not fully understand his feelings, we can empathize because all of us have experienced times of difficulty before where hope seems to be far away.
Psalm 102 is part of a group of “lament psalms”, where the psalmist expresses his troubles and agonies to the Lord, sometimes without even ending in praise. These psalms, though raw, are very precious to us because they give us space and words to be filled with grief and pain and know that the Lord understands and accepts us even in our broken state.
A close friend of mine recently experienced a long period of depression and pain. He struggled with mental illness, lost his job as a result and was then abandoned by his family. He was so distraught that he spent his time alternating between doing nothing and railing at everyone who had let him down. Even though he had been a Christian for many years and seen God’s goodness in his life, he was unable to trust God or even pray. Finally, he contemplated ending his own life. Throughout his ordeal, there was nothing I could do except to be present for him and pray for him.
Yet God is the one who truly delivers!
Just last week, after three and a half years of living in anguish, he began to turn a corner and see the light. Gingerly stepping out of the shadows, he tried to engage others and start living again. He may not have all things and relationships restored in his life but at least he starting afresh. My heart is so filled with thankfulness to God for helping him!
Beloved, sometimes we may go through fiery trials, but let us know that God is present with us and will deliver us. We don’t have to hide our weaknesses, failures and sins from God but can come to God in our utter brokenness just like how psalmist did. We too can be God’s comforting presence to others by offering them the same love and acceptance that we have received from Jesus.
Revd Ian 🙏