A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed and pours out his complaint before the LORD. Hear my prayer, O LORD, And let my cry come to You. 2 Do 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. 3 For my days are consumed like smoke, And my bones are burned like a hearth. 4 My heart is stricken and withered like grass, So that I forget to eat my bread. 5 Because of the sound of my groaning My bones cling to my skin. 6 I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert. 7 I lie awake, And am like a sparrow alone on the housetop. 8 My enemies reproach me all day long; Those who deride me swear an oath against me. 9 For I have eaten ashes like bread, And mingled my drink with weeping, 10 Because of Your indignation and Your wrath; For You have lifted me up and cast me away. 11 My days [are] like a shadow that lengthens, And I wither away like grass. 12 But You, O LORD, shall endure forever, And the remembrance of Your name to all generations. 13 You will arise [and] have mercy on Zion; For the time to favor her, Yes, the set time, has come. 14 For Your servants take pleasure in her stones, And show favor to her dust. 15 So the nations shall fear the name of the LORD, And all the kings of the earth Your glory. 16 For the LORD shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory. 17 He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, And shall not despise their prayer. 18 This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD. 19 For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; From heaven the LORD viewed the earth, 20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner, To release those appointed to death, 21 To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, And His praise in Jerusalem, 22 When the peoples are gathered together, And the kingdoms, to serve the LORD. 23 He weakened my strength in the way; He shortened my days. 24 I said, “O my God, Do not take me away in the midst of my days; Your years [are] throughout all generations. 25 Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens [are] the work of Your hands. 26 They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. 27 But You [are] the same, And Your years will have no end. 28 The children of Your servants will continue, And their descendants will be established before You.”PSALM 102:1-28
HE SHORTENED MY DAYS
It’s okay to complain to God. Don’t worry, He can take it. Sometimes the grief just piles up. If you were going to complain to anyone, God is really the only one who could bring comfort to your hurting and help to your healing anyway. This Psalm is for the overwhelmed. It is for all of us who don’t have it all together and can’t keep it from falling a part. It’s okay to pour out the mess of our grief and grievances before the Lord.
The grievance that sticks out to me in this particular Psalm is where the Psalmist says, “He shortened my days” (v 23). While on the one hand it’s very personal for the Psalmist writing this. He is afflicted by illness and enemies and he sees his days are numbered (and it doesn’t seem to him like he’s had that many days). He wants to live a long and fulfilled life, but that’s not going to happen. His days are being cut short. Things just won’t be working out the way he had envisioned.
On the other hand this Psalm is messianic. It points to another one who would be cut down in the springtime of their life. It points to Jesus who willingly embraced suffering so that we might not have to face the wrath of God. He went to the cross for our sins so that we could know God and have our sins forgiven. He embraced the reality of an ‘early’ death for the sake of those He would save by the power of His resurrection. (My mind cannot help but ponder that the Lord knows what it is like to have a son slaughtered in His prime. He indeed sympathizes with our weaknesses).
It’s in the messianic inferences that we catch a glimpse of God’s grace. There is one who understands and knows our grief and is able to bring us comfort, both because He has been through it, but also because He promises to get us to the other side of it as well. It was in a different context that the disciples had questioned Jesus about what all they had given to follow him and he answers that there are no real losers when it comes to the kingdom of heaven. What we may lose on this life is nothing compared to what we gain when we have eternal life. So while the context is greater, I think the application fits this scenario as well.
Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” 28 So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. 30 “But many [who are] first will be last, and the last first.Matthew 19:27-30
I was comforted today to know that I don’t have to hide my deepest hurts from God. I can come and spill the beans, so to speak, before the Lord concerning my grief and grievances in life. I was encouraged to meditate on the fact that He just doesn’t know of my circumstances, but as we examine the life of Christ and his humanity that he knows my feelings and frustrations. I was strengthened in my faith when I pondered that what lies ahead in the kingdom of God is greater than what we leave behind on our way to the celestial city. So while I may be in tears of lament today, there will come a day when he wipes away all our tears (Revelation 21:4).
Father, thank you for your book of Psalms. I am so encouraged and comforted by the fact that all through this book you are able to carry the burden of the afflicted. I don’t have to stew with my messy grief and questions, but that I can take them to you. You are not threatened by my mess. Indeed as I pour my heart out to you and ponder your word I see now more than ever that you draw near the broken hearted and comfort the afflicted. Thank you for your grace today and everyday. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.