Do you feel torn down by your troubles? Uncertain of what kind of good purpose God could have in what you’re going through? Consider these verses from Psalm 102:

God, listen! Listen to my prayer, listen to the pain in my cries.
Don’t turn your back on me
just when I need you so desperately.
Pay attention! This is a cry for help!
And hurry—this can’t wait!

I’m wasting away to nothing,
I’m burning up with fever.
I’m a ghost of my former self,
half-consumed already by terminal illness.
My jaws ache from gritting my teeth;
I’m nothing but skin and bones.
I’m like a buzzard in the desert,
a crow perched on the rubble.
Insomniac, I twitter away,
mournful as a sparrow in the gutter.
All day long my enemies taunt me,
while others just curse.
They bring in meals—casseroles of ashes!
I draw drink from a barrel of my tears.
And all because of your furious anger;
you swept me up and threw me out.
There’s nothing left of me—
a withered weed, swept clean from the path.

Yet you, God, are sovereign still,
always and ever sovereign.
You’ll get up from your throne and help Zion—
it’s time for compassionate help.
Oh, how your servants love this city’s rubble
and weep with compassion over its dust!
The godless nations will sit up and take notice
—see your glory, worship your name—
When God rebuilds Zion,
when he shows up in all his glory,
When he attends to the prayer of the wretched.
He won’t dismiss their prayer.

Write this down for the next generation
so people not yet born will praise God:
“God looked out from his high holy place;
from heaven he surveyed the earth.
He listened to the groans of the doomed,
he opened the doors of their death cells.”
Write it so the story can be told in Zion,
so God’s praise will be sung in Jerusalem’s streets
And wherever people gather together
along with their rulers to worship him.

God sovereignly brought me to my knees,
he cut me down in my prime.
“Oh, don’t,” I prayed, “please don’t let me die.
You have more years than you know what to do with!
You laid earth’s foundations a long time ago,
and handcrafted the very heavens;
You’ll still be around when they’re long gone,
threadbare and discarded like an old suit of clothes.
You’ll throw them away like a worn-out coat,
but year after year you’re as good as new.
Your servants’ children will have a good place to live
and their children will be at home with you.”

Maybe God has more spiritual goals then we can consider. Maybe He loves us enough to change us from the inside out, even if He has to bleed us dry. He can not be dismissed because we don’t at first understand what He does with us. Why would He empty us, but that He meant to fill us with more than what we had before?

Maybe He desires praise that is not merely a theme among themes in our hearts, but is so strong that it must subordinate everything else that lies within us. Maybe God is more than we thought. Maybe knowing Him is more self-requiring than we could ever know until we have fully died. Maybe He knows that what we will know then is all that we should ever want as people who belong with Him. Maybe believing all of this is enough for right now — even with these lesser things, these troubles that are also true in this moment of our lives.

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