“Hear my prayer, O Lord;
let my cry come to you!
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!”
– Psalm 102:1-2 (ESV)
Last week I spent some time reflecting on Psalm 102 and how well it matches how I’ve been feeling over the last several weeks. There are some particular sins that really seem to be dragging me down. And they’re all somewhat related and have caused me to engage in more self-wallowing than usual. But I haven’t shied away from pleading with God about them. Like the Psalmist, I’ve asked and pleaded (demanded ?) for God to take these away from me, as I feel at times like my walk with God has hit a wall because of it.
But I’ve also reminded myself of Paul’s situation in 2 Corinthians 12, and his thorn in the flesh. “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.” (v. 8 ) And of course, the LORD responds to Paul’s request that, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Characteristic of the great Apostle, Paul responds that he will “boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (v. 9)
I do not for one second compare any of my problems with Paul’s. But I am wondering about how to reconcile these Scriptures in Psalm 102 and 2 Corinthians. We are also reminded in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” I feel I’ve been doing that. I feel I’ve been doing that in the way the Psalmist has done it in Psalm 102.
My question is, at what point do you, instead of pleading, begin to wait on God’s answer ? How many times should a child continue to ask for something, all the while knowing that his Father is sovereign and knows best ? At what point do you join with Paul and “boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” ?