But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever;
your name endures to all generations.
You will rise up and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to favor it;
the appointed time has come.
For your servants hold its stones dear,
and have pity on its dust.
The nations will fear the name of the Lord,
and all the kings of the earth your glory.
For the Lord will build up Zion;
he will appear in his glory.
He will regard the prayer of the destitute,
and will not despise their prayer.
Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet unborn 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;
so that the name of the Lord may be declared in Zion,
and his praise in Jerusalem,
when peoples gather together,
and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.
He has broken my strength in midcourse;
he has shortened my days.
“O my God,” I say, “do not take me away
at the midpoint of my life,
you whose years endure
throughout all generations.”
Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you endure;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You change them like clothing, and they pass away;
but you are the same, and your years have no end.
The children of your servants shall live secure;
their offspring shall be established in your presence. (NRSV)
When you are destitute and hurting, it is easy to feel alone, as if no one really understands. The healthy, the wealthy, and the powerful do not often take notice of the needy. Whether in chronic pain, constantly dealing with sickness, continually drowning in bills, laboring long hours in obscurity with little pay, or all of them at the same time, there is good news: God specializes in such situations.
Contrary to popular characterizations of the Old Testament, God is merciful, gracious, and kind. The dominant motif is not a God of wrath but a God of steadfast love – a God who makes and keeps promises to people. God’s wrath is reserved for those who have the power and privilege to care for others, but instead, fleeces them of what little they possess.
This was the situation for the psalmist. He had no idea why he was the victim – he just knew he needed God. So, he turned to the Lord – trusting that God is good for his promises – knowing that God will be attentive to the great needs of his life.
It is interesting there is no wonderful or miraculous answer to the psalmist’s plea to God recorded for us. There is only pain, petition, trust, and hope.
Sometimes, maybe oftentimes, all we have is faith, hope, and love. Yet, and I am just throwing out a notion to consider, if we possess these three virtues, we are the ones who are healthy, rich, and strong.
God is attentive to your prayer. God hears you when you adopt this psalm for yourself and pray it with fervor and flavor. The lack of immediate Divine intervention does not necessarily mean God overlooks a person’s situation. It just means the Lord is planning something supremely spectacular for you.
To pray in a time of trouble is to dwell in the presence of God. To be in the presence of God is to find an answer to prayer you might not have been looking for to begin with. God hears. God will respond… in the proper time.
O God Almighty, sovereign of all, and the One in whom is my hope: Help! I pray to you alone. I know you bend your ear to pay attention, so hear my prayer for mercy in the middle of my hardship. You are always the same, even though everything and everyone else changes. Be my rock in a time of trouble; in Jesus, through the enablement of the Holy Spirit. Amen.