Psalm 130 talks of both suffering and the antidote. It is written from the heart of someone who is suffering and crying out to God and yet this person knows that God is coming, is the antidote to their suffering. Despite the obvious suffering from the depths and a need for mercy, the psalmist’s main focus is on God and his coming deliverance.
Eugene Peterson writes, “Eight times the name of God is used in this psalm. We find, as we observe how God is addressed, that he is understood as one who forgives sin, who comes to those who wait and hope for him, who is characterised by steadfast love and plenteous redemption, and who will redeem Israel. God makes a difference. God acts positively towards his people. God is not indifferent. He is not rejecting. He is not ambivalent or dilatory. He does not act arbitrarily, in fits and starts. He is not stingy, providing only for bare survival.”
Much of our suffering can be short lived, some of it long lasting, but the psalmist recognises that God is the deliverer from all suffering and chooses to wait for him like the watchmen wait for the warmth of the rising sun in the morning, knowing the comfort that it will bring.
There is another suffering though – separation from God – ghastly isolation as P T Forsyth suggests, and this is also where God is our deliverer.
“If you God, kept records of our wrongdoings, who would stand a chance?” Despite our rebellious and sinful nature, God chases us down with his unfailing love to offer the antidote to this eternal suffering without God. The antidote? Grace. God’s unmerited favour on our lives that ensures that all suffering that we experience is temporal. Those who accept God’s offer of redemption can look forward to that time when ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
When we suffer, let us turn to God and wait on him like the watchmen waiting for the sun for he is coming to redeem us from sin, release us from pain and suffering and to take us home to be with him.