Someone once said that we should always be careful about asking God for patience, meaning that if we ask for patience God may teach us patience by putting us in places where we have no choice but to wait and see what will come next. Being in a place like that will teach us more than patience, though. A place like that in our lives also tests our trust in God’s promises.
These are the circumstances which the psalmist in Psalm 102 finds himself. He sings that there is a price to be paid for learning patience. After all, before one can enjoy deliverance one must suffer that from which one hopes to be delivered. And all along he is aware that only God can be His deliverer. His suffering is not said to be a consequence of any sin – rather it is a consequence of surrendering to God’s will (“you have taken me up and thrown me down” – v.10).
From the pits of suffering the psalmist then turns to the enduring goodness and favor of God. In a world where there is little justice and much injustice for servants of God and for the destitute, the powerless, and the weak – in just such a world God brings His glory – the glory of a just and mighty God worthy of the fearful respect of all the nations.
Just when it seems that God has turned away and the consequences of choosing to surrender to Him are eating the last of your strength away, the psalmist is reminded of God’s endurance – and so is encouraged to hold on and wait…and trust.
Having remembered how God always endures in love towards His people, never mind the trials and suffering that often comes into their midst – the psalmist realizes that there is another perspective: the perspective of the Creator. What seems to a finite man to be inevitable destruction appears to God as the dawn of vindication and victory for His faithful ones. In this psalm, having come through the refining fire of suffering and pain, the psalmist now sees with God the blessings secured for his own children and grandchildren. Patience is not an easy lesson, but a fruitful one for the one who holds onto his or her trust in God.
PRAYER: Father, no matter what else happens in our here and now, You are wonderful and deserve our enthusiastic praise. You see the end where we see only the beginnings. Sustain our patience so that never stop trusting You. We do not love You because of who we are, but because of who You are. We want to be more like You – the way Jesus expressed You in every aspect of His life. We bring so little and You make it worth so much more by Your touch on our lives. We offer You all we have and are and ever will be and ever will have in Jesus, may You make it a glory … amen.