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Lenten Reflections: Psalm 102

By Steve Gregg

The psalms are an amazing gift in so many ways. It is first a collection of poetry that touches on a wide range of human emotions and pleas to God from His people in a wide range of situations and states of mind. For millennia it has also served as a deep well to draw forth hymns and songs for people to give a voice to their emotions as they worship. But here is the crazy part for me -- since the Psalms are Scripture, we know they are the inspired Word of God, which means that this resource is more than just a “greatest hits” of Hebrew worship songs, but it is in effect, God’s poetry. It means that our Father through inspiration of the Holy Spirit has given us the lyrics for these songs that help us love and worship the very One who inspired them.  If God chose the Apostle Paul to give us such lofty theology as Philippians 2 to help us better know Him, then the psalms are poetry God has graciously given us to express, shape, and train our hearts as we worship Him.

With that in mind, Psalm 102 is one of those psalms that teaches us that God alone is eternal and we are not and that is OK. The psalm starts with the psalmist speaking of their pain and frustration and instead of  arriving at a pat answer, the psalmist ends up realizing that the entire Creation is finite but God who hears is not. The psalmist realizes the answer to their suffering isn't an “it all works out in the end”, but realizing that the One who hears you is eternal and all powerful and in the end, faithful. It means the psalmist in the end didn’t get or even need an answer to their pain as long as the One who hears them is the One who will be standing when the mountains fade away. That comfort came not from their circumstances but from the assurance that in a changing capricious world, God was everything but.

The psalmist is calling us to introduce our theology certainties to our pain, questions and doubts and understand that the answer isn’t often a Disney happy ending as it is a bone-deep confidence that these finite struggles will never have the last word. The One who loves us, the One who spoke the mountains into existence and will be here long after they have faded away  will always have the final word. And that is Good News.