As a staff chaplain at a large medical center I get the opportunity to pray with people who are experiencing some very difficult and painful situations. As a follower of Christ Jesus I am glad I have the Scriptures to guide me as I offer support and encouragement. Recently I have been reading through the Psalms. In the past I never really felt much of a connection to this book, but as of late it has been strengthening me and helping me minister to those in need.
One particular Psalm that I have been reading over and over again is Psalm 6. While this Psalm by King David presents his musings on the opposition he experienced from his enemies, I believe all of us can incorporate these passages to ameliorate our pain and draw closer to God.
Psalm 6:2-4 starts off with an entreaty for God's help:
Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak.
Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
I am sick at heart.
How long, O Lord, until you restore me?
Return, O Lord, and rescue me.
Save me because of your unfailing love.
This is an authentic prayer from someone who knows suffering. It asks for help from the Creator. It provides at least three ideas for us to consider:
It shares the depths of the speaker's pain. His body hurts and his heart is heavy.
It begs for help from God. David knows that the Lord has the ability to rescue him.
It questions why God has not already answered. David is a man of faith, but his faith is tested by the trial he is going through and he wonders where the Lord is. When will God act?
The Psalm continues into verse 6 where David reveals the deep anguish of his situation. We see that David's problem wasn't a minor inconvenience. His nights were filled with anxiety and fear.
I am worn out from sobbing.
All night I flood my bed with weeping,
drenching it with my tears.
This is a breathtakingly honest reveal. It is important for us to remember that David was an accomplished warrior, musician, and successful leader. As a youth, he defeated a deadly giant. He had a deep level of faith that is revealed in the 70 plus psalms he wrote. God personally selected David to become the next king. Even with all of these blessings and advantages, David was in anguish here. This begs the question. If God's anointed king of Israel suffered, what are we expecting in our own life? The answer, of course, is that we too shall experience suffering.
And the Bible is reminding us in this Psalm that our suffering has physical, emotional, and spiritual effects. Our bodies ache, our hearts will be heavy, and we will doubt whether God cares about us. The human experience is often a difficult one, but David assures us in verse 9 that we can trust that God is aware of our hardship and that He will respond.
The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord will answer my prayer.
Notice that David isn't telling us that he has already received what he wants. Instead, David is sure that God hears his supplications. The Lord is not absent nor distracted. Even better, David is confident that God will answer his prayers.
This should be an encouragement to all of us. While we can't control how specifically God responds to our entreaties, we can have confidence that the Lord is aware of our pain and He will take action.
(verses taken from New Living Translation; photo credit: Wix media)