Trusting God in Suffering (Psalm 103:5-7)
Who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. ⁶The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. ⁷He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. –Psalm 103:5-7
This psalm begins with one of the most well-loved phrases in the entire Psalter, “Bless the Lord,” which can be translated “Worship the Lord.” The psalmist exhorts us to hold back nothing in praising God for the forgiveness of our sins and life everlasting. But that’s not all God does.
The Lord satisfies
To have one’s youth renewed like the eagle is, metaphorically, to be restored to our original state of perfection and strength in the Lord before mankind sinned. God created mankind in His own image. The Hebrew word translated as “youth” means “early life.” The “early life” of mankind is the life before sin. God moves swiftly to renew and heal. This is not suggesting we have the power of self-renewal, but that when we trust in Christ, God renews us with the strength and vitality of a young eagle.
The Lord works righteousness and justice
We humans see many wrongs and oppressions go "un-righted" or unrelieved, but the Lord will see to it that this is not so. He will avenge His elect who have cried unto Him day and night for deliverance. We long for this in the terrible oppression underway in Myanmar, as well as religious persecutions in Hindu and Muslim countries.
A friend in Myanmar recently sent me (Gary) this report:
War is going on in every state and every region. The Junta used jet fighters and helicopters to bomb the civilians in villages. The fight between the Junta and People Defense Force is very severe everywhere. Civilians’ villages are burned down, and everyday civilians are arrested and killed by torturing or shooting. Some houses were burned down by the terrorists. The people's suffering is dreadful.
COVID is still killing people, at present it is spreading in rural areas. Because of the two enemies, COVID and war, life is more and more difficult. Many people became jobless, prices have gone high, everything is expensive. Now Myanmar money has no value, inflation rapidly has gone up. Indeed, life is very difficult for common people. Life is in danger.
Private good schools are closed. 99% of public schools are also closed. No education at all. Due to the COVID, many churches could not have services, due to war, many people fled to safe places. No more giving in many churches. Only a few pastors and missionaries could do soul-winning outreach. We feel that it has been too long. We cry, When will there be freedom?
The Lord sees all that is going on in our world today and He will work His righteousness and justice as He has promised in His Word. He sees now, but it may be that His justice will come only when Christ returns.
The Lord makes Himself known
When Moses asked God to show him His glory, He revealed Himself saying:
The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation. (Exodus 34:6-7)
He is our protector and defender against all evil. And He is our only defense against His righteous wrath against sin. These timeless truths were as far-reaching in the life of David as they are today in ours. They are precious promises to all who suffer, who call on the name of the Lord Jesus. They offer the eternal hope that Jesus came to purchase with His suffering.
Editor's Note: February 1, 2021 marked the one-year anniversary of the military coup in Myanmar. Than Tlang in the Northern Chin State (pictured above) has been burned repeatedly, reducing the town to ashes. Please remember to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Myanmar. "Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body" (Hebrews 13:3).
Have you entrusted your life to Christ? Are you satisfied in Him?
List some of the good things God has done for you and thank Him for His blessings as you look to Him for renewal.
Are there believers in your family or church who are suffering? Pray for them this week as part of your meditation on this passage.
Gary Brewer is Director of International Resource Development for Truth78. He has served in missions-focused ministry for 38 years, 24 of those with Baptist Mid-Missions, along with his wife Kathy. Gary and Kathy live in Grandville, MI and have three children and 12 grandchildren.
K. S. Singh is a Ph.D. candidate at Evangelical Theological Seminary of Asian Christian Academy and currently serves as the Chief Translation Consultant for Truth78. He is fluent in six languages and serves as a pastor in India.