September 11, 2021
Scripture: But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever; you are remembered throughout all generations. Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD: that he looked down from his holy height; from heaven the LORD looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die… Psalm 102:12, 18-20 ESV
Observation: For this lament, the psalmist first petitions the Lord to listen to his prayer, to answer his petition for relief from his suffering (verses 1-11). But at its midpoint (verse 12), he refocuses on where his hope rests: in Yahweh, who is “enthroned forever.” the Lord who is all-powerful and will be known by all generations. His attention is drawn away from self to the needs of his people and future generations (verse 18). And the Lord graciously instills in him a messianic vision of the One who is to come and answer his prayer for future generations (verses 19-20).
Takeaway: While it is not wrong to pray for healing and relief of suffering, if that alone is our prayer, we will be disappointed, for we will have set our sights on recovery without regard for our Healer and our place in eternity. As James Boice notes, “perfect health is not a right, and ill health is often as much a gift from God as wholeness.” God may choose to restore us to good health, but his purpose in permitting our suffering reaches beyond us to others for all eternity. Meanwhile, our Messiah who hears the groans of those imprisoned in pain will perfect his grace in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9) and one day set us free (verse 20).
Prayer: Father God, when we are overwhelmed with pain and suffering, please help us keep an eternal outlook and find peace and rest in the knowledge that you are accomplishing your purposes in us and future generations. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling