Sunday, November 3, 2019

Writing from Affliction: Psalm 102

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry for help come to you. Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly (Psalm 102:1-2).

If the afflicted one has the strength to capture his emotions and thoughts in written words, he gives a profound gift to the world.

Psalm 102 is a prayer of an afflicted man when he is faint and pours out his lament before the Lord. 

The word “pours out” is the Hebrew word šāpakmeaning to spill forth, as in a drink offering, or specifically, blood in the sense of slaughtering. It is used figuratively to signify the “pouring out” of God’s punishment and His fury (Hosea 5:10, Lamentations 2:4). Šāpak is a fitting word to describe the violent emotions that ravage the heart gripped by affliction.

Commentator William MacDonald, in The Believer’s Bible Commentary, suggests that the afflicted man in Psalm 102 is not just any man, He is the Lord Jesus Christ, The Afflicted One who bore our sorrows on the cross. MacDonald describes Psalm 102 as a conversation between the Lord Jesus, hanging on the cross, and the Father and Holy Spirit. 

I find his interpretation fascinating and faith-inspiring. To think that the Great Author penned that sacred and painful conversation long before its execution, for us to read today and to know we are not alone in our suffering, makes me love my Lord even more.

His choice to tell me in written words the anguish, the desperation, the loneliness, He felt has brought me comfort on the longest, darkest nights. The raw honesty with which He describes the agony of obedience floods me with grace when I am struggling to yield my will. The clear, resonant call to look upward, to remember the unchangeable things, the eternal things, the foundation of everything, gives me the courage to stand when everything in me screams for collapse.

If God chose to write His emotions and thoughts during His penultimate moment of suffering, can I not choose to do the same?

It is so easy to withdraw into ourselves, hide our pain, keep it private, preserving a tidy and not-too-emotional image to the world. After all, people are watching us. They are reading our words. We have a reputation to uphold. If they see us hurting we may lose credibility. They may gossip about us. They may misunderstand us.

How can I presume to protect myself from such things when my Savior was exposed to them all? Psalm 102 is a vivid recording of the shame and ridicule he chose to bear. For me and for you.

I want to be like Him, to show the real Jesus to a hurting world. So I must write. I cannot selfishly clutch even my sorrows to my bosom, for they too belong to Him. All my words, the comforting and the uncomfortable, are His instruments. If He did not withhold even his deepest pain from me, should I not do the same for those who might need my words today?

I am compelled to write from my affliction as well as my joy. I take up my pen and I šāpak my tumultuous thoughts, the confusion mixed with clarity, the courage mingled with weakness, the confidence jumbled with reluctance. I send my words forth in all their vulnerability to the vulnerable, the lonely, the one needing courage, the one dearly loved but feeling abandoned, the one who thinks she is the only one.

As I write and as she reads, the One who was afflicted for both of us will heal our hearts.

Perhaps if I write from my affliction it will change the world, one heart at a time. One sorrow at a time comforted, one burden at a time made lighter, one head hung low at a time gently lifted up to the Savior. Perhaps.

Lord, untangle my affliction as I take up my pen today. May my words bring hope instead of despair, joy instead of sorrow, and peace instead of anxiety. Amen.

Writing From Affliction - Thoughts on Psalm 102 from @AudreyCFrank on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Audrey Frank is an author, speaker, and storyteller. The stories she shares are brave and true. They give voice to those whose words are silenced by shame, the hard things in life that don’t make sense, and the losses that leave us wondering if we will survive. Audrey and her family have spent over twenty years living and working among different cultures and world views, and she has found that God’s story of redemption spans every geography and culture. He is the God of Instead, giving honor instead of shame, gladness instead of mourning, hope instead of despair. Although she has three different degrees in communication and intercultural studies, Audrey’s greatest credential is that she is known and loved by the One who made her.

Audrey is the author of Covered Glory: The Face of Honor and Shame in the Muslim World (Harvest House Publishers)an outpouring of Audrey’s heart to introduce others to the God of Instead. Shame is not unique to the developing world, the plight of the women behind veils, young girls trafficked across borders; shame is lurking in hearts everywhere. Through powerful stories from women around the world, Covered Glory illuminates the power of the Gospel to remove shame, giving honor instead. Available at favorite booksellers: Barnes & Noble , Books A Million, Amazon.

You can also find Audrey at, as well as on Twitter and Facebook


  1. Dear Audrey,
    Thank you for this encouragement to "get real", to write the stories we uncover as we dig deep into the muck of our messy lives, and to have the courage to write truth as God reveals it to us.
    Ann Westerman

  2. Wow! You spoke to me today. I am always resisting transparency, yet, I want to write with the "voice of thanksgiving" (Psalm 26:7. How can I be thankful in my writing if I don't at first tell of my pain? Thank you!

  3. �� awesome and powerful post. Just received a message from the Lord on instead. He just repeated it through you. ❤️

  4. Audrey, It's been my experience that the times when I am (prayerfully) transparent with my audience are the times of greatest heart connection and greatest ministry. Discovering that writers and speakers are people just like they are--flawed, frail, and weak--opens a door that no amount of self-protection can ever hope to open. THank you for these words today. I'm going back to Psalm 102 for another read in light of your moving post.