How long must your servant endure?
The psalmist has penned much concerning affliction in the last few stanzas. In this one it seems that he is nearing the end of himself. I do not know what was going on in the life of our author when he wrote these words, but I am sure any who have followed the Way for very long at all can understand the sentiment behind them.
These are words written during those times when faith is proved genuine, those times when there is nothing left but faith.
The circumstances have been unfavorable for long enough that even the memory of them has no sustaining power. The believer finds himself alone, surrounded by indifferent strangers at the best of times, malicious enemies at the worst. All comfort has gone.
Perhaps, like Job, even family and health have been removed, or perhaps it is merely an internal period of stifling darkness that St. John of the Cross spoke of as “The Dark Night of the Soul.”
Whatever the cause, the believer fits the description in Isaiah 54:11, “O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted…” There is nothing tangible to cling to, nothing visible to offer comfort.
But there is faith.
It is here in these dark and tormented valleys that the believer’s faith is tried and found secure because it is not rooted in ephemeral assets such as vitality, prosperity, or the warm comfort of loved ones. This is where the foundation of faith is exposed to the brutal elements, yet it endures because it is heavily entrenched in the Eternal God, the unchanging Rock.
Here, the footsore and weary believer may plead to see the promises of God with his own eyes, believing that even if this dark night lasts for all the years allotted to him in this body, he will someday see the fulfillment of the eternal promise in Christ.
Yes, weeping may last for a terribly long night, but take courage, Believer. Joy will come at last on the morning of the great Day of the Lord… if it does not come before.
Oh, Lord, for those who are enduring times of crushing pain or persecution, let Your joy come to them soon!