The Psalms are full of rich poetry that not only reveal what God is like and instruct us in the way of worship, but also set our hearts on fire! There is much we can receive from the Psalms, and I pray that this particular piece of prose stops your soul in its tracks.
Psalm 130: A song of the stairway
Lord, I cry out to you out of the depths of my despair!
Hear my voice, O God!
Answer this prayer and hear my plea for mercy.
Lord, if you measured us and marked us with our sins,
who would ever have their prayers answered?
But your forgiving love is what makes you so wonderful.
No wonder you are loved and worshiped!
This is why I wait upon you, expecting your breakthrough,
for your word brings me hope.
I long for you more than any watchman
would long for the morning light.
I will watch and wait for you, O God,
throughout the night.
O Israel, keep hoping, keep trusting,
and keep waiting on the Lord,
for he is tenderhearted, kind, and forgiving.
He has a thousand ways to set you free!
He himself will redeem you;
he will ransom you from the cruel slavery of your sins!
Here’s a few takeaways.
1. God answers prayer.
God is not indifferent or lethargic when His children groan in heartache, weep in pain, and suffer in despair. His fatherly heart is stirred to action when we cry out to Him! Some may think that God wouldn’t answer their longings or requests because their sin is too great. However, let me point out that God answers prayers not because of our goodness, but because of His goodness!
Yes, it’s true that the “prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective” (James 5:16). A Jesus-follower may not always feel righteous and therefore cheat himself out of praying faith-filled prayers—but how we feel about our righteousness is irrelevant. The truth is that Jesus has already made each of us righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21)! So we fit the bill, in Jesus’ Name! God causes our prayers to be powerful and effective every time because of Jesus’ wonderful work in us! As the psalm resounds, “No wonder You are loved and worshiped!”
2. God is worth the wait.
Because God always answers prayer, we can actually expect breakthrough! When our hope is in God, we can get our hopes up! So as a watchman on a tower eagerly scans the horizon to see the return of his master, we also can wait and look for God’s answer with hope-filled expectation.
And when at last God delivers, you’ll find that His way, His answer has ultimately satisfied your longing even more deeply than you thought it would. When the best you could imagine was an Ishmael, God has been preparing for you an Isaac! Ephesians 3:20 declares, “He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all!”
Don’t rush the process, and don’t take matters into your own hands. God will answer your prayers—and, though the answer seems a long way coming, God is worth the wait.
3. God is altogether good.
Now, both of my previous points hang on this truth: God is altogether good. If a person believes in her subconscious that God is angry, withholding, or misleading, then it paves the way for her to doubt that God answers prayer and that He is worth the wait. Do you see? If you read the previous points and thought to yourself, “Yeah, right,” then you haven’t deeply resolved that God is totally good.
Tragic experiences, miserable relationships, and unfair letdowns can distort our perception of God until we have fabricated in our theologies a lesser god who is belittling and insecure—but still call him the God of the Bible! My friends, what does the Word teach us? This psalm announces, “He is tenderhearted, kind, and forgiving. He has a thousand ways to set you free!” And that is the truth! Yes, God is good and He does good!
♦ ♦ ♦
Our situations don’t tell us who God is. Tell your situations who God is! God answers prayer—every time! God is worth the wait—every time! And God is altogether good—thoroughly, authentically, unwaveringly, and permanently!
Whatever you are facing, whatever your deep longing is… why don’t you start hoping again? Why don’t you start expecting breakthrough? God promises us that He has very, very good things in store.