I faint with longing for your salvation;
but I have put my hope in your word.
My eyes are straining to see your promises come true.
When will you comfort me?
I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke, exhausted with waiting.
But I cling to your principles and obey them.
How long must I wait?
When will you punish those who persecute me?
These arrogant people who hate your law
have dug deep pits for me to fall into.
All your commands are trustworthy.
Protect me from those who hunt me down without cause.
They almost finished me off,
but I refused to abandon your commandments.
In your unfailing love, spare my life;
then I can continue to obey your decrees.
(Psalm 119:81-88, New Living Translation)
We all have them — those days when we want to raise our hands to the Lord and say, “Just go ahead and take me now!” Days like today when it is peaceful in the office and the view out the open window is sunny and in the low 70’s can dull the longing a little bit, but eventually heat or clouds or a blustery gail will keen our senses again to the fact that there are “those days” and they come more often than not. Or maybe the peace in the office will be interrupted by a call, or a letter, or an email from someone having a struggle, or perhaps more like the psalmist’s situation someone causing a struggle. Oh, those days.
Such days can be a blessing in disguise, however. We sometimes struggle with the “now, but not yet” of our salvation. We have been saved from our sins by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, had them washed away in the waters of baptism, yet all is not yet completed in our experience of things. We still await the coming of Christ and the Resurrection. We have been saved from our sin, and are being transformed in character into the image of Christ by His Spirit. But we ain’t perfect, and neither is this rock upon which we float through the galaxy. Not yet. Like the psalmist, we still long for the salvation from the daily grind of living in a fallen and falling world. We get tired, we get faint, we get down. But hope, longing, and faith pull us through these times, and we know (and what a blessing to know, not just guess!) that our ultimate salvation lies ahead, guaranteed and sure.
Being tested magnifies what is within us whether it be strength or weakness, integrity or foolishness. Being put through the the smoker like a wineskin is not comfy, but if it refocuses our priorities and calls us back to our hope, it is a blessing. And indeed, our eyes do strain when we look with eyes of the flesh. Looking through the eyes of faith, however, we find we have much to look forward to and now is not the time to let weariness overwhelm. Instead, lift your eyes to hills, call on God, and remember the Source of your hope and calling. Salvation can be yours in Christ Jesus, and He’ll be with you in all “those days” so that you may be with Him on that Day.