ScriptureHear my prayer, O LORD, And let my cry come to You. 2Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble; Incline Your ear to me; In the day that I call, answer me speedily. 3For my days are consumed like smoke, And my bones are burned like a hearth. . . This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD. Psalm 102:11-3, 8 (NKJV)
Observation: Some think that David penned this psalm at the time of Absalom’s rebellion; others that Daniel, Nehemiah, or some other prophet, penned it for the use of the church, when it was in captivity in Babylon, because it seems to speak of the ruin of Zion and of a time set for the rebuilding of it, which Daniel understood by books, Dan. 9:2. Or perhaps the psalmist was himself in great affliction, which he complains of in the beginning of the psalm, but (as in Ps. 77 and elsewhere) he comforts himself under it with the consideration of God’s eternity, and the church’s prosperity and perpetuity, how much soever it was now distressed and threatened. But it is clear, from the application of v. 25, 26, to Christ (Heb. 1:10–12), that the psalm has reference to the days of the Messiah, and speaks either of his affliction or of the afflictions of his church for his sake. In the psalm we have, I. A sorrowful complaint which the psalmist makes, either for himself or in the name of the church, of great afflictions, which were very pressing (v. 1–11). II. Seasonable comfort fetched in against these grievances, 1. From the eternity of God (v. 12, 24, 27). 2. From a believing prospect of the deliverance which God would, in due time, work for his afflicted church (v. 13–22) and the continuance of it in the world (v. 28). In singing this psalm, if we have not occasion to make the same complaints, yet we may take occasion to sympathize with those that have, and then the comfortable part of this psalm will be the more comfortable to us in the singing of it. [Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one volume (888). Peabody: Hendrickson.]
Application: A mud slide destroyed many homes and killed many people, in fact, it wiped out an entire community. A airliner crashed killing all its occupants and leaving many families grieving their loss. A child was diagnosed with terminal cancer and her life was cut short at the tender age of three. Three firefighters were killed fighting an apartment fire in a large city. A building collapsed killing many of its residents. Five soldiers were killed with a road-side bomb.
We read, hear, or see stories like these almost every day in the news or online. We hear them so often that they lose their impact the more often they happen. It is as if we become immunized to the bad news a little at a time…until it happens to us or to someone we know personally. It’s one thing to hear of a plane crash, but it’s another to know one of the passengers. It’s one thing to hear of a police officer that was killed, but it’s another thing to have known him personally and attend his funeral. It’s one thing to hear of the young cancer victim, but it’s another thing to be her pastor, her parent, or her grandparent.
For any one of us experiencing deep pain and sorrow David’s words become ours. While we’re going through the darkest moments in our lives it is as if God were not there. We cry out, “God, please, don’t hide from me in my pain!” But the psalmist words are also very encouraging. God is not hiding His face from us in our pain and sorrow. On the contrary, His face shines in our darkness, His warmth surrounds us when we feel alone, and at the end we will sing His praises.
A Prayer You May Say: Father God, thank You for always being next to us in our pain and sorrow. We trust You and that one day we will be able to praise Your name and tell others of your love and encouragement during our darkest hours.