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At the Appointed Time

Lately there have been some difficult days.

Fatigue, distress and groaning, loneliness and sleeplessness, oppression and sorrow—like many psalms, Psalm 102 gives a clear window into human suffering. Many of us can relate to the Psalmist’s distress. We feel like we know a little of what he was enduring as he pours out his complaint to God.

It is not clear when this psalm was written, but it could have been sung by the people of the exile. With Jerusalem and the temple in ruins and many families stuck in captivity, there was a real sense that God was distant, the fear that somehow God had let his covenant people down.

The Psalmist wrestles with his distress, yet throughout his prayer he holds onto hope. He resolves to seek the LORD and to call on him for pity. He remains confident in God’s plan to save his chosen nation. Verse 13 expresses his confidence:

You will arise and have pity on Zion; it is the time to favour her; the appointed time has come.

Beyond all this trouble, God has set a day for deliverance—of that the Psalmist is sure. Perhaps he is referring to a specific time that was announced by one of the prophets, or he is speaking more generally of God’s plan to save his people.

But it comes down to the same thing: God will be faithful, and he will surely redeem his chosen ones from all their trouble.

The difficult days will be forgotten when the appointed time has come.

It was at the appointed time when the Lord Jesus also came to this earth. For centuries God had made preparations for his arrival, and he had often spoken about that day through the patriarchs, prophets, and psalms. Finally, it happened.

Says Paul, “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law” (Galatians 4:4). At the appointed hour, Jesus came to this earth to redeem his people. By his suffering and death he saved us from our deepest distress and worst trouble: captivity to sin, and everlasting condemnation.

With the coming of Christ in the flesh, God heard our prayers for deliverance, and he showed his sovereign and life-changing mercy.

Because Christ has already come, you can always be confident in God’s protection and care. Even in your darkest and most difficult days, you can be assured that nothing will separate you from his love in Christ.

In the Father’s providence all your days are numbered, and all your times are appointed—so you can trust in him.

For Jesus’s sake, God will yet arise and have pity.


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