How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you (Ps 31:19).
Unanswered prayer is the grief of many Christians today. There are usually no answers to the questions of “Why does He delay to answer me? Doesn’t He see how much I am suffering?”
As one who has wrestled with these questions many times, I have taken great comfort in Psalm 31:19. It seems that the Lord has a “savings account” of His goodness toward me that I will one day be able to cash in. Perhaps a better illustration would be a “trust fund,” because it is an account that cannot be drawn from whenever I would like. Someone else determines when I will receive it.
To access this “trust fund” of God’s goodness to me I must exercise the same kind of faith that a child with a financial trust fund would exercise. It is only a matter of time before I will receive my store of God’s blessing. I must trust that the Word of the One that is managing this fund is true. The only difference is that the time for me is uncertain while the child will know when his inheritance will be given to him.
While I am waiting for the display of His goodness the verse tells me the two things I must continue to do: fear Him and take refuge in Him. These are not passive, but active verbs. “Fear” carries the idea of seeking Him wholeheartedly, rather than in just a perfunctory way. “Taking refuge in Him” is an admission of our own weakness and inadequacy.
Some believe that this verse suggests that the display of God’s goodness to us will be apparent to all at the Judgment, but my opinion is that the phrase, “in the sight of men,” is that it will be here on earth, not just at a later time. David had earlier stated, “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (Ps 27:13).
The Lord has His goodness in store for those who trust Him. We don’t always understand why He tells us that we must wait, and it sometimes distresses us when people around us are looking for external evidence of His reality, but He has His purposes, and those purposes are perfect.
Spirit of God, descend upon my heart. Wean it from earth, through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness mighty as Thou art, And make me love Thee as I ought to love.
Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh; Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear:
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh, Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.
(George Croly, 1780-1860)