Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee.
2 Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.
3 For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.
4 My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.
5 By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin.
6 I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.
7 I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.
8 Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me.
9 For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping.
10 Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.
11 My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.
12 But thou, O Lord, shall endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.
13 Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.
14 For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.
15 So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.
16 When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.
17 He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.
18 This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord.
19 For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth;
20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death;
21 To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem;
22 When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord.
23 He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days.
24 I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations.
25 Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.
26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:
27 But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.
28 The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.
This is a Psalm of prayer by someone overwhelmed by great afflictions. His complaints are followed by words of consolation. Read this Psalm over and over and be moved by Jesus’ suffering, but savor His victory and His eternal constancy in loving and caring for you.
In the past, I did not like the idea of taking complaints to God. I thought it was disrespectful. When I was a child, I frequently heard my parents say, “Quit your complaining.” But complaints are given to God over and over in the Psalms. Not just telling God about troubles that come upon us, but complaining to God about things He has done or has not done.
I am now thankful for the "complaint" Psalms. When we are overwhelmed, God would rather we take our complaints to Him than keep them to ourselves. By complaining to God, we acknowledge that He exists. But we don’t have to stop there. We can acknowledge His power, wisdom, goodness, mercy, love, and care for us. We can find joy in praising Him. In this Psalm, we may find assurance of heavenly consolation in times of overwhelming distress.
R. Lynn Sauls
Retired Professor of English and Journalism
Southern Adventist University