Do Not Hide Your Face from Me

“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)

prayer

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” ?

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One thought on “Do Not Hide Your Face from Me

  1. great questions. i think it depends on the situation and on my heart. there are times when i ask God in a demanding way and as I’m reminded of that, I have to re-focus on my heart… am I looking to an answer to the problem (whatever it may be at the time) as my hope, or am I looking to God to be my hope, no matter what the answer may be? Goodness, for me, this is a daily question I have to ask when I’m coming to God with a request.

    But over the past few years I have found much comfort in the tenacity of folks like Hannah and Jacob and the Psalmists. Hannah wept and prayed to the point where Eli thought she was drunk. She poured out her soul before God aware that He cared for her. Jacob wrestled and clung with a firm faith to the promises of God. He said “I will not let you go until you do what you have promised.” Now this by no means meant that God promises health, wealth and prosperity, but to cling with such firm resolve is challenging for me. I’ve found several promises in the Bible that I know are true (not things like “I will give you lots of donkeys…” rather things like “I will never leave you. I will be with you. You are my child and I will not give you a stone when you ask for bread.” Then I pray those promises back to God…

    For me, it looks something like this… “God, I know you are my Father. I know you have good things in store for me and that your heart is not one that is greedy and withholding good merely to punish or torment me. I trust in You. I trust in You to provide good gifts for me. Right now, God I believe that ____ would be a good gift. So, I ask you in faith that you would provide that for me. Father, I believe (in my limited view) that I could bring more glory to you if you provide this answer for me. But you know what is best. You know what I need. So I trust you. And I look to you in hopeful anticipation that you only give me good gifts. Please satisfy me with yourself, so that whether or not you answer my request, I will have peace and joy in You. But Father, You have promised to bless me. I pray that you would provide in this area… etc…”

    I think there is a difference in resting in God’s sovereignty and goodness and ceasing asking for Him to answer our prayers. We can rest in His care for us, and still pray for answers. Or we can stop asking simply out of a lack of faith that He will do it…

    make sense??

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