This morning I read about a popular preacher in CA whose son was killed in a car crash. He leaves behind a wife and child, and they are expecting another child in November. I’m sure the family has gone through (and will continue to go through) a whirlwind of emotions: grief, pain, joy at memories, anger, and hopefully comfort from faith. Having gone through something similar several years ago with the loss of a good friend who was expecting his first child a month before his death, it can take a long time to work through the emotions and loss, and sometimes pain and faith can intermingle into quite an intense and beautiful cocktail (although the beauty often isn’t seen until long after).
Psalm 102 is a psalm of deep pain and faith all happening at once. The writer is going through an intense situation that has robbed him of joy, appetite, health, and sleep. He feels as if God has tossed him aside and left him wide open for his enemies to destroy him. Yet, his pain is eased with faith. Look what the author writes in Psalm 102:18-22,
This will be written for the generation to come; that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord. For He looked down from His holy height; from heaven the Lord gazed upon the earth, to hear the groaning of the prisoner; to set free those who were doomed to death; that men may tell of the name of the Lord in Zion, and His praise in Jerusalem; when the peoples are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord.
In the midst of suffering, the author has enough faith to write that future generations will look at his situation and serve God because of it.
What about us? When life gets tough, do we have the ability to look through the mess and see God? It’s cool to be angry with God and to question him (He’s big enough to handle it), but how many of us can, like this author, look through the pain and see that God may be at work? None of us can perfectly. Granted, there are horrific situations that test the strongest of faith and can crush the smallest of faith. But sometimes, we lose perspective. Sometimes we think that no one has it worse than we do, when in fact there are people in our world–people on our street–who are going through worse things. Thank God for His grace. Sometimes, we can’t see what He’s up to until much later, and sometimes not at all. But often, far down the road, we can look back and see the beauty in the midst of the pain–that the situation forced us to take inventory, to deepen our reliance on God, and our faith to increase.
No matter what we go through, we can say just like the author did at the end of this Psalm,
But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end. The children of Your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before You.