How long, LORD?

“How long, Lord? Will You hide Yourself forever”? … Lord, where are your former love and kindnesses, which you swore to David in your truth?” (Psalm 89: 46, 49).

These words come from the Psalm 89, which starts out by remembering the covenant that God made with David and his past goodness and faithfulness to David.

But then comes this passage telling how God has cast the king’s throne down to the ground and caused his enemies to inflict terror upon him and his people.

These words also express the way many of us feel some of the time. We wonder why God has allowed us to go through the fire and the water, even though he has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:6).

The psalm gives no answer to that question, but has many indications that it also applies to Jesus in his sufferings. Like all the Psalms, this one also points toward Jesus Christ and his various experiences of rejection and defeat while on earth.

So, at the very least, this psalm reminds us that we have a faithful and sympathetic high priest in heaven, one who was tempted in every respect as we are, except without sin (Hebrews 4:14-15). He knows from the inside what it feels like when God seems to have withdrawn his protection and care from us.

So, “when darkness seems to hide his face” as God leads us through “the valley of the shadow of death,” we know that Jesus has already absorbed all of his wrath against our sin, and that “nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).