The nations surrounding Israel can praise Yahweh not because of any suffering, pain, or judgment they are currently experiencing, but because of what God has done with Israel—and through repentance and faith and the ongoing plan of God, what God can do with them as well.
After years of persecution, years of praying, years of crying out to God, years of waiting… God shows up and fights for his people just when all hope is gone.
Our God is a God that loves to burst forth. God created flowers that burst forth from buds, butterflies that burst forth from cocoons, and dogs that burst forth from open doors to run around the yard at the end of a long day.
Life is hard. Loss is part of it. Pain is part of it. But: the one who watches over us neither slumbers nor sleeps, and we are not alone. The psalmist certainly knew that sometimes it's important to look back at where we've been and what we've been through, so that we can see how God has "brought us out into a spacious place."
I wish I had kept Psalm 102 at the ready for such a time as this. This psalm voices deep anguish of the body and the spirit, something to which we can all relate in ways big or small.
When confronted with distress in others, words dry up in our throats. If the words we seek do come out, they sometimes seem awkward or out of place. Thus, the best commentary on the prayer of Psalm 102:1-12 may be the blank page. Silence.