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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

SufferingSave me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God…

I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
- Psalm 69:1-3; 30

Psalm 69 begins as a cry of desperation, a painful plea for God’s saving mercy. The psalmist is overtaken by darkness in the form of enemies. He suffers. His pain is real.

We, the readers, feel this. We know this. In many ways, if we’re honest, we can relate to these gritty emotions. So often we feel as if God isn’t there. We see the physical manifestations of evil all around us, and, at times, we can begin to believe He isn’t there. And even if He is there, we can oftentimes operate as if He doesn’t care. We, along with the psalmist at the beginning of the Psalm, begin to feel the heaviness of despair press down on our souls.

But the Psalm continues, and we gain a fuller picture of the shape of the psalmist’s faith. His pain is real; his doubt is too. But, even still, he has faith to praise in the midst of the darkness. “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving” (v. 30); praise and thanksgiving in the darkness and the brokenness; trust and dependence in the face of overwhelming doubt. That’s the shape of real and abiding faith. Though we truly suffer, though we live in real darkness and brokenness, we praise and give thanks to God because He is the faithful One, the One who has set hope in the hearts of His people.

And what’s the proof that God hears us when we cry out to Him; that even in our failings and doubt, amidst the death and decay, He draws near in our time of need? Jesus. He has shined forth the light of the Father into the darkness of our world, breathing new life into our lifeless bodies. He’ll be the One who restores Zion (v. 35), bringing the fullness of the kingdom, forever ruling and reigning with His people in perfect peace and justice. Honest praise in the midst of pain and suffering springs forth from a faith that trusts Jesus and His promises.

O Father, let this be the shape of our faith! Let us trust that You are strong enough to hear our most honest pain, anger and doubt. Grant us the faith to know with certainty that You are supremely good and care deeply about our suffering. Help us to always be ever so mindful of Your promises, to remember Jesus, and to continually turn to You with praise and thanksgiving. Amen!

Justin Doyle
Ministry Fellow at Brown

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