Scripture: Psalm 102
Key verse: (3) “For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace.”
Reflection: Have you ever lost hope and wondered where God was in your distress? Today’s psalm asks this question. It begins with a prayer for help that acknowledges feelings of depression, hopelessness, and fear. The writer wonders: “Have I done something wrong?” What is keeping me from God? I wither away like grass.” (v. 11) Have you ever experienced this kind of struggle in your life when distress met faith? What did you do when you felt like God wasn’t hearing your prayers? Perhaps you are feeling like this right now. If you don’t know where to turn, this psalm offers a way, using a familiar pattern found in other prayers. First, tell it all to God. This prayer uses words like cry, distress, stricken, withered, wasted, groaning, waste, lonely, and tears to describe the state this person is in. There is no point in hiding your feelings when life goes sideways. God knows what’s really going on. Second, there is a shift at verse 12 — the psalmist says two important words – “But, you . . .” It is here that we find reminders of how great the LORD is. Sometimes we need reminders to bring our faith into focus. The LORD is enduring and compassionate. The LORD is worthy of praise. The LORD sets the prisoners free. The LORD is the same forever and ever. The LORD is the one that will stick with us in the good times and the bad no matter how we feel. These reminders are an important part of trying to gain perspective when we feel deserted. By naming the pain, we can begin to find healing. This doesn’t mean that everything will immediately get better, but coupled with remembering who God is, something inside of us begins to change. Even though things may be falling apart, the LORD remains constant – even in the chaos and unknowns of life.
There are a lot of people struggling right now. Some are fighting for their lives in a deadly pandemic; some are struggling to survive with isolation and depression; some are having to face the demons that a busier life was able to hide; others don’t know how they will pay the bills or keep a roof over their heads. Whatever it may be, we are reminded that our God is eternal, the source of hope and healing. May this prayer in Psalm 102 bring you strength today to keep going no matter your circumstances. And if you are at ease, think about reaching out to help someone else. God may use you today, in ways you can’t imagine, to give someone else hope.
Prayer: Eternal God, we are grateful that you are the same, yesterday, today and forever. Your years have no end. Knowing you are ever present in our lives we live secure in the midst of uncertainty and fear. Strengthen our faith through the testing found in life. Restore hope where there is fear in our lives. Give us the courage to face these days. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].