February 23

Psalm 22:23-26

“For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.” vs. 24

We’ve heard the voices of the afflicted big time during this last year. Every country in the world has been affected, and millions of families have suffered pain and loss. Jobs have disappeared and the education system has been stressed to the max. Some have even echoed the psalmist in making complaints before God, questioning why they have been forsaken and forgotten in a moment of crisis. Humans have endured these times for generations, but the pain of our ancestors does nothing to mitigate our own. We continue to bring our laments before God, asking for some sign of hope, some expression of mercy. This particular psalmist, having made his feelings known to God, expresses praise and thanksgiving for having been heard. Perhaps his suffering had come to an end! Maybe he was anticipating God’s gracious response! But the time had come to recognize that God had been present all along, that there never had been a moment when God’s face was hidden. Some are at that point now in the battle with COVID-19. There is a sense that the tide has turned and healing is on the way. The struggle isn’t over yet but maybe it’s time to start offering praises for the bounty of life in the midst of adversity. We are not alone, our prayers have been heard!

Thought for the Day: How can praises be offered when suffering is not over?

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