Scripture: Psalm 102:9, ‘For I eat ashes like bread and mingle tears with my drink.’
Observations: The psalms are known for their beautiful imagery, and here it is particularly striking. The psalmist turns to God in his distress (v1) and prays that God would ‘incline his ear and answer speedily. (v2)’ For his days are like smoke and his bones burn like a furnace (v3). His heart withers and he forgets to eat (v4). And here in verse 9 he eats ashes like bread, and his tears mingle with his drink. In the Old Testament people expressed their grief not just verbally, but also visually. They took off their normal clothes and dressed in sackcloth. And instead of pouring oil on their head to make their hair gleam, they poured on ashes so that it looked grey. All of this expresses the intense grief and anguish in the life of the psalmist. But ultimately his hope is in the Lord, who is enthroned forever (v12), who ‘regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer. (v17)’
Application: Are there days, or certain times in your life when you feel like all you eat tastes like ash and when your drink taste salty from your tears? Being a Christian doesn’t mean we won’t experience heartache and deep sorrow. Like everyone else we experience grief and sadness. The difference is that our hope is in the Lord. Our hope is that he hears our prayers. Our hope is that he is enthroned forever, and that he is in control. Our hope is that we are secure in his hands. If you are struggling today, I encourage you to turn to God and ask him for help. Be honest with how you are feeling, and put your hope in God and his unfailing love for you in Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, when my food tastes like ashes and my drink like tears, may I not forget Your great love for me in Jesus Christ. Lord, when my heart is heavy and my strength is sapped, may I not forget Your mercies are renewed every morning and that Your faithfulness never fails. Lord, when I feel all alone and when I think I am a failure, may I not forget that You are always with me and that Your grace is sufficient for me. Lord, may I never forget that because of Jesus You will never leave me or forsake me, no matter how hard life seems. May I never cease to trust in You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.