A Prayer for the Overwhelmed

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013) – July 8

“This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD” (Ps. 102:18).

imagesGuilt, anxiety, and grief characterized Israel following their captivity by the Babylonians (This psalm was probably written during the days following that captivity to stoke the faith of those given to despair).
Psalm 102 teaches a number of helpful truths that minister to those who are overwhelmed by the fallout of their circumstances:

  • God’s face seems hidden sometimes and prayers appear unanswered, “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 . . . . Because of Your indignation and Your wrath; For You have lifted me up and cast me away” (102:2, 10). Yet He does not change, “But You are the same, and Your years will have no end” (102:27).
  • The loss of awareness of God’s presence can cause anxiety that affects one’s physical health, “And my bones are burned up like a hearth. My heart is stricken and withered like grass, so that I forget to eat my bread. Because of the sound of my groaning my bones cling to my skin . . . . I lie awake” (102:3-5, 7).
  • Interpersonal relationships are corrupted, “My enemies reproach me all day long; those who deride me swear an oath against me” (102:8).
  • Time passes slowly, “My days are like a shadow that lengthens, and I wither away like grass . . . . He weakened my strength in the way; He shortened my days” (102:11, 23).
  • The flames of hope must be fanned, “But You, O LORD, shall endure forever, and the remembrance of Your name to all generations. You will arise and have mercy on Zion; for the time to favor her, Yes, the set time, has come” (102:12-13).
  • God uses the sorrow of His people redemptively, “So the nations shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth Your glory . . . . This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD” (102:15, 18).
  • Suffering awakens an understanding of the brevity of life, “I said, ‘O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days’” (102:24).

Only heaven will reveal the number of those over the past three millennia who’ve been comforted by this psalm. Overwhelmed with guilt, worry, and anxiety? Then this psalm is for you!

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Ps. 98-100; 102; 104):
How does the worship of our great Sovereign God affect one’s attitude and outlook?
In what ways does the psalmist worship God in these psalms? What does this reveal about worship?
What does the psalmist recognize about God that sends him soaring in worship?