A few years ago, the church building that I grew up attending was torn down. I was saddened to think that the place where I had spent so much of my childhood, where I had encountered God, would be demolished. While I realized that it was just a building, this event evoked a longing for permanence. What, in life, does not change?
Psalm 102 has a unique title. It tells us that it is a prayer for afflicted people who need to pour out a lament to God. It is comforting to know that God provided us with models for how to relate to Him in our suffering. The Psalmist here is clearly in distress. He describes the transience of his life, comparing it to smoke and withered grass (vv. 3–4). His body aches from suffering to the point where he forgets to eat (vv. 3–5). Additionally, he is cut off from any sense of community. He compares himself to a desert owl, or a bird alone on a roof (vv. 6–7). This image illustrates his sense of social isolation. He recognizes that his suffering is not his alone, but part of the suffering of God’s people (vv. 12–16). This psalm was likely written during the Babylonian exile, when many in Israel felt abandoned by God.
The Psalmist finds solace by reflecting on God’s attributes. He reminds himself that the Lord is on the throne (v. 12). Despite how desperate his personal situation might be, God does not change, “but you remain the same and your years will never end” (v. 27). This is good news because God promises not to give up on His people. He would forgive and restore Jerusalem (vv. 21–22).
>> Do you feel isolated or alone? We can take comfort in the truth that God does not change. God cared enough for you to send His Son to die for your sins. This same God will never change and is faithful to keep His promises.
Father, You loved us enough to send Your Son to suffer in our stead. Help us to be longsuffering for Your sake. Give us love for You that carries us through the grief and loneliness we must inevitably face.