23 All of you who revere the Lord—praise him!
All of you who are Jacob’s descendants—honor him!
All of you who are all Israel’s offspring—
stand in awe of him!
24 Because he didn’t despise or detest
the suffering of the one who suffered—
he didn’t hide his face from me.
No, he listened when I cried out to him for help.
25 I offer praise in the great congregation
because of you;
I will fulfill my promises
in the presence of those who honor God.
26 Let all those who are suffering eat and be full!
Let all who seek the Lord praise him!
I pray your hearts live forever!
27 Every part of the earth
will remember and come back to the Lord;
every family among all the nations will worship you.
In these verses, the psalmist speaks of deep gratitude for God’s attentiveness during a time of deep distress: that God listened and heard the writer’s cry for help.
You may be saying to yourself: now wait a minute! There’s something familiar about Psalm 22…oh yeah, I remember now. Isn’t that what Jesus quoted from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1)
Indeed, it’s one and the same. It’s jarring for us to think about these two ideas – frustration with feelings of being abandoned and gratitude for God’s deliverance – appearing on the same page. Frequently, in the storybooks of our lives, they don’t appear on the same page. Often, we experience a good deal of waiting between the frustration and fear of verse 1 and the gratitude and graciousness of verse 24. And no one likes waiting.
Today, you may not be feeling verse 24. Today, you may still be feeling verse 1. Or you may find yourself somewhere in the middle, hoping and praying that today will be the day something will turn. In any case, take comfort in the witness of the psalmist: God is still in the business of deliverance. Sometimes, the delivery just takes longer than we want to arrive!
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
Have you gone through a time when you felt abandoned by the Lord? Looking back on the situation now, are you able to see the turning point where you began to feel gratitude for God’s work to help you? Consider whether there’s someone you know who’s struggling might need to hear a word of encouragement from you today. Then reach out to let them know they are not alone.
Prayer: God, sometimes it’s hard for us to see you at work around us. But we trust that even when you seem hidden from us, that you will not abandon us. Come quickly to our aid, and to the aid of all those who are in need today. Amen.