Affliction, Hope and Relief

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“Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble…” – Psalm102:2

Psalm 102:1-12 is the prayer of a man in the midst of suffering. We can identify with him. He is bringing his complaints, fears and sorrows before God. He feels pressure from many directions. He speaks specifically about his enemies and also his physical body. On the other hand we get the impression that part of the problem is that the writer feels distanced from God.

Whatever the reason, whether it was a personal struggle on David’s part or whether God was displeased with his actions and was waiting for repentance; this is a dangerous place for anyone to be in.

How is it possible to come before God in this situation? We see the dryness of his physical, mental and spiritual being. David needs water. He needs the presence of the Holy Spirit from whom he drew his very life. The birds referenced are those that inhabit deserts and ruined places, symbols of death and destruction (verse 6).

Interestingly David describes the sense of feeling alone like a bird perching on a roof (verse 7). When is David pictured as being alone on a roof? It was when he saw Bathsheba, and where did that lead him? David fell into that situation by not being where he was supposed to be.

The depth of David’s suffering is pictured as his tears fill his drinking cup (verse 9). Everyone is against him. Where else in the Word do we read of someone being scorned? We see Yeshua in this very place, calling out to Abba from a place of emptiness, far from God, a place of suffering when all but a few had turned against Him. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?” (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46)

This is a place of transparent weakness and even doubt, in which we too may find ourselves. In verse 12 we see the “click” in David as he turns to God. “But you, O LORD shall endure forever, and the remembrance of your name to all generations…”

The change comes through proclaiming who God is and what He has promised. This Psalm is not written as one person’s suffering only, but for all of us. No one is immune to times of struggle, testing and sorrow. God wants us to turn to and lean on Him.

Who are the prisoners mentioned here and what are the prisons in verse 20? Fear of death is one of the greatest prisons of all for those who are not living under God’s refuge. He takes us beyond the pressures of this world. When we enter into praise and worship, we give thanks to God and are filled with His Spirit. We find the way to climb out of our confusion, fear and doubt.

In this place we go from a bird alone on a roof to being “renewed” like an eagle soaring above all situations (Isaiah 40:29-31; Psalm 103:5).

This article originally appeared in Oasis newsletter, July 2020, and reposted with permission.