Hope in Anguish
Dear Savior, open my eyes to reveal any stumbling sin, any darkened motive, any coveting desires. Forgive and restore me.
Read Psalm 102:1-28
 A prayer of an afflicted man. When he is faint and pours out his lament before the LORD.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have leaned the secret of being content …whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:12,13).
What were your feelings reading this psalm? Sometimes worship leaders encourage people to praise God “whether you feel like it or not,” with quotes from psalms. Yet almost half of the psalms are cries to God. Most congregations include people going through times of distress, let alone times of community and national tragedies. This psalm provides an opportunity in corporate worship, no matter what your personal feelings, to pray in fellowship “with an afflicted person who has grown weak” (title of this psalm, TNIV).
Images of anguish build up (3-9). Through the psalm, anguish is verbalized and made legitimate. There is a sense that this is God’s “wrath” (10), whether that’s a wrong perception, like Job’s, or warranted, as the Jews in exile mourning the destruction of Jerusalem (14,16). Confession of sin has no part in this psalm; rather, there is opportunity to affirm faith in God, despite appearances. Somehow God must act in “compassion” (13), and his name must be honored by all nations (15,21,22). Others are not giving glory to God, and that must change! Personal suffering and anguish are put in the context of God’s glory among the nations. The concern is God’s vindication, putting all things right. God will “sit enthroned for ever,” and from heaven he will “hear the groans of the prisoners” (12,20), so he can be called upon to act in present personal distress. The God whose “years go on through all generations” (24) can be expected to ensure that future generations live in his presence (28). Through corporate use of this psalm, used by millions through the centuries, the “afflicted person” moves from feeling alone, far from God (1-11), to trusting in God’s vindicating glory among the nations.
Did you identify with the anguish of the psalm? If so, trust God to act rightly and know that you are not alone; many pray with you.
Lord, I claim the promise for those who wait upon You; moments of exaltation, periods of steady devotion, and times of empowering strength.
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