Psalm 69:19-21 You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed; all my enemies are before you. Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none. They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.
I found Tim & Kathy Keller’s comment on these verses in ‘The Songs of Jesus’ (also published as ‘My Rock, My Refuge’) very helpful, so I can do no better for today than just reproduce those comments here:
“David is suffering without relief despite his prayers. Suddenly there is a startling reminder of Jesus – how on the cross he was scorned, disgraced, and shamed, helpless, friendless, and offered vinegar to drink (verse 21; John 19:28-29). Jesus knew – and knows still – the pain of unanswered prayer when he asked if another way could be found to save us besides the agony of the cross (Luke 22:42). God answered that prayer by saying, in effect, ‘There is no other way to save them. … If they are to be saved, I must not save you.’ This not only answers the question: Is there any other way to be saved besides Jesus? (No.) It is also the ultimate comfort when we sense no answer to our prayers.
PRAYER: Lord, if you patiently bore the pain of unanswered prayer for my sake, then I can be patient with what seems to be unanswered prayer for your sake. The cross proves that you love me and so I can trust that you are listening to me and handling my request the way I would want if I had your wisdom. Amen.”
We are all faced at various times with the problem of God’s strange ‘Providence’ and with seemingly ‘unanswered prayer’, either in our own circumstances or in the circumstances of friends and loved ones for whom we pray daily. And I for one need to depend on God’s help and strength even to use the words ‘I can be patient’ and ‘I can trust’ in the prayer that Tim & Kathy suggest above! I think that’s why I can identify with the lyrics of this Cityalight song:
” I will trust my Saviour, Jesus, when my darkest doubts befall; trust him when to simply trust him seems the hardest thing of all. I will trust my Saviour, Jesus, trust him when my strength is small, for I know the shield of Jesus is the safest place of all. Jesus, only Jesus, help me trust you more and more; Jesus, only Jesus, may my heart be ever yours. I will trust my Saviour, Jesus, he has said his way is best, and I know the path he’s chosen leads to everlasting rest. Jesus, only Jesus, help me trust you more and more; Jesus, only Jesus, may my heart be ever yours.”
– Bruce Christian