“Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! incline your ear to me, answer me speedily in the day when I call!”
What a verse. What a pleading before God. Both of these sentences in Psalm 102.2 end with exclamation points. Don’t hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Exclamation point. Incline your ear to me, answer me speedily in the day when I call! Exclamation point. The whole picture here is in the original language of the Old Testament, this is a pleading, a longing, a desiring almost in a humble sense, a demanding like, “God, I need you. I need you not to hide your face from me. Like I’m going through hard times and I need you near me when I’m walking through this challenge. I need you on call.”
God has promised that He is with His people, even in the middle of our distress. May we call out to God boldly, knowing that He is for our good and His glory.
This is a pretty bold way to speak to God, isn’t it? To say to God, “I need you to answer me speedily when I call.” Doesn’t that feel a bit bold before God? Like I need you to answer me fast whenever I call upon you. What kind of audacity prays like this to God? I think it’s a Godly audacity. The picture we see here in Psalm chapter 102 is pleasing to God in the same way that I think about … so I think about my kids. If they are going through a hard time, and they’re saying, “Dad, I need your help in this.” Am I dishonored by that? No, I’m honored by that, and I want to help them, and if they’re saying to me, “Dad, I need your help right now.” Now I’m not like, “Whatever. Be patient.”
No, I want to help them now, assuming obviously they need help, right then. Yes, I want to do that. I’m a dad who loves my kids. All the more so in an infinitely greater way, god is our Father. We’re his children, and when we walk through distress, it is entirely right to go before Him with an exclamation point at the end of our cries and say, “Please be near me and please hear me. Incline your ear to me. Answer me when I call to you. And not just answer in the future, answer today. I need your help, I need your guidance, I need your wisdom. I need what you alone can give. I need it now.” This honors God. And I’m guessing, I’m guessing there’s some who are listening to this right now who are in the middle of distress.
You’re walking through hard times. I just think about a family I have been talking to in the last few hours, who is going through a really, really hard time right now. And I believe it honors God for them to cry out to God like this, and to know that He will be near you, that He will incline his ear to you and He will answer you. He will give you what you need in that moment. That’s what I’m saying to this family. God is faithful and He will be your helper. He is your helper in your distress, in your time of need. So God, I pray right now. I pray for that family and I pray for others who are walking through distress right now, who are walking through challenging difficult moments, days, times, and God I pray that you would not hide your face from them, that you would be near them and the day of their distress, that they would know your presence with them right now.
And we know you’ve promised this. You promised that you will be with your people, that your spirit indwells your people. Some may they know your presence palpably right now. May they know all that flows from your presence, your wisdom, your strength in weakness, your comfort. You’re a help. Your love, your mercy, your kindness, your compassion as they cast their cares on you, may they know you care for them, for your provision. God, every good gift comes from you in the middle of our distress. When we need good, it can only come from you. So God, I pray. We pray that you would provide in your goodness for everything this family, others, who are walking through distress need according to your glorious riches in Christ Jesus, provide for their needs. Bring them through this. We pray in ways that resound to your glory and they’re good. In ways that show your sufficiency.
Just like 2nd Corinthians 12 speaks of your grace and power are sufficient in our weakness. So God, may it be evident now we pray this with exclamation points at the end. May you show your presence, incline your ear, and answer according to what our brothers and sisters need.
What many of us right now need from you when the reality is, “Oh God, even as I’m praying this, even though I’m not walking through this or that level of distress right now, I need you. I need you in every way today, and every way at every moment. There’s nothing I have on my plate today that I don’t need you for. So God, we find ourselves daily crying out to you. Answer me, answer me, help me in this way or that way, and we just pause to praise you right now for hearing our cries and answering when we call. All glory be to your name, oh God, for inviting us to call out to you and answering us when we call out to you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for this privilege of prayer. Help us to take full advantage of it all day long in our needs. In Jesus name, we pray who makes this privilege of prayer possible. In his name we pray. Amen.”
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