Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Never Turning Away Love

If you have suffered, you are probably familiar with this Psalm. No comfort, not praise filled, no resolution. Just pure gritty despair, agony and grief. Matthew Henry writes "This psalm is a lamentation, one of the most melancholy of all the psalms; and it does not conclude, as usually the melancholy psalms do, with the least intimation of comfort or joy, but, from first to last, it is mourning and woe."

Listen for the echoes of the Savior. The bible tells one story from beginning to end. "Every story whispers his name".


O Lord, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry!

For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.

For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand.

He was despised and rejected by man; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep. Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves.

You have caused my companions to shun me; you have made me a horror to them. I am shut in so that I cannot escape; my eye grows dim through sorrow. Every day I call upon you, O LORD; I spread out my hands to you.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the departed rise up to praise you? Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon? Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you. O LORD, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me?

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities;

Afflicted and close to death from my youth up, I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

Your wrath has swept over me; your dreadful assaults destroy me. They surround me like a flood all day long; they close in on me together. You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness. 

Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 



But God did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted and he has not hidden his face from him. He heard him when he cried (Psalm 22). While he was in distress he called upon God, he cried for help. And from his holy temple, God heard his voice and his cry reached his ears. (Psalm 18).

Suffering is agony and Jesus knew it well. He experienced what we never will - not just pure violent pain and death, but separation from God, his father. Bearing our wrath he felt the Father's fury so that we never would - ever. Because of this Suffering Savior our debt is paid. If you are in Christ, you may suffer but your eternity has been sealed and your present help in time of need is at your hand. 

If you are suffering, God knows. God hears. Help is on the way. In Christ, His love runs to you in the midst of your suffering, in the middle of your mess and in the pain of your sorrows. God turned his face away on the cross so that you and I would never experience his turning away again. One way love. A hope that cannot fail. A love that will not let us go. Hallelujah!



Psalm 88 and excerpts of Psalm 53 taken from the ESV

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