In the middle of darkness, I saw a light.
In our lives, the most difficult suffering is not a severe suffering but the suffering that has no fixed ending time or no imaginable consequences. When we face a crisis that has expiration date, we can endure. We can have hope because we know that it will end soon. When we go through a suffering that leads to joy, we can endure. Mothers can go through the pain of labor because they know that they are going to have babies at the end.
However, even a slight pain can give us frustration if we do not know when it would end and how it would finish its course. The psalmist cries out to God because she does not know when it would end:
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?”
However, God did not answer to the question concerning the duration of the pain. The psalmist complains that she would die in suffering and her enemies will mock both her and God!
“Consider and answer me, O Lord my God! Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, and my enemy will say, ‘I have prevailed’; my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.”
Even though God did not answer to the question how long the suffering would last God did give the psalmist confidence of the victory at the end. Now she can endure the current pains with the hope for her future: “But I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”
We do not necessarily need to know when the suffering will end when we know that the end result would be joyful. We can have hopeful expectation for our future when we have confidence in the Creator who loves us. The psalmist changed her questions from “How long, O Lord” to “Who are you, Lord?” She derived her answer from the character of God. When we know that God loves us we can say that our future is in good hands and the current suffering will turn into future joy.