Psalm 102 seems like…
- two poems stuck together—a despairing lament and a utopian vision for Zion
- a combo of highly subjective feelings plus highly optimistic wishful thinking
- all very removed from our situation
- also the story of Zion moved on historically, politically, theologically from whatever it was then
- and the rest about the rulers of the world trembling before God doesn’t look like happening any time soon.
The speaker escapes from his subjectivism by clinging to the bigger picture of his city and nation in the future when God does ‘arise’. All in God’s own time.
If you’ve never read Elie Wiesel’s account of his Holocaust sufferings as a sixteen year old in the brutality of the Nazi extermination camps, then you won’t be able to understand how true this psalm rings in that situation of horror. [E. Wiesel, Night, 2006 edition, translation by his wife]
Just think. Jesus wept over Jerusalem. He wasn’t optimistic. He looked ahead to its siege and destruction by the Romans who crucified thousands of Jews around the city who tried to escape the siege. Jesus in Jerusalem changes everything for us.
He did ‘appear in his glory’ just as verse 16 hopes, but was rejected, falsely accused, humiliated and executed.
So thanks to that, we have no reason for deep spiritual despair but instead have assurance that nothing can separate us from His love. That’s not a cheap faith when things go wrong for us.
It wasn’t for Jesus either as He faced all that it cost Him.