Heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
We've arrived at Psalm 6 this week, a psalm of distress. Given our financial concerns, we all groaned when we realized which psalm it is. It just seemed too on-the-nose. Of course, we aren't fleeing from enemies that seek our lives, or carrying the burden of state, or in mortal peril, like the psalmist is. His difficulties were, at an objective level, worse than ours. But the psalm became a good companion in our stress, too, however much smaller our stress may be. I'll highlight two main insights.
One of the main ideas we pushed at Wheatstone's summer camp this year was, "You can't become good enough for prayer without praying." And right away, the psalmist demonstrates how. By asking the Lord not to rebuke him in anger or discipline him in wrath, the psalmist acknowledges that the trouble he's in fits with his sinfulness. God could justly lead him into troubles. Yet, even knowing that his sinfulness is part of what got him into trouble in the first place, the psalmist approaches God and boldly asks him to "turn" toward him with mercy and steadfast love. Rather than cleaning up for prayer, he knows that prayer is his way to get clean and find deliverance in his distress.
Here's another insight: The psalmist has been in distress for a long time. He's cried and prayed and hoped and been disappointed, and cried some more. And it's precisely that weeping that God hears, when he turns to answer the psalmist's plea and accept his prayer. Seeing this, we discussed why God loves our weeping. This isn't an idea that's unique to this psalm. Christ declared the poor in heart and those who mourn "blessed," and he joined us in our weeping. He also encouraged us to be persistent in our prayers, even through disappointment, trusting in the love of God the Father.
So why does he love our weeping? Chad suggested that, when we face troubles, sorrow might be the holiest available response. One could become angry and vengeful, one could despair, one could ignore reality and seek distractions, or one could mourn. Only one of those responses clearly allows for both facing hard realities and trusting God: sorrow. And the psalmist's trust in God paid off. When he wept, God heard him, and after those long, long days of sorrow, sent a salvation that came "in a moment."
- Do you endure in your griefs before God? Are you willing to let him hear the sound of your weeping for however long it takes, trusting in his deliverance?
- Do you acknowledge your role in your own misfortunes, without letting shame prevent you from petitioning God in faithful prayer?
- How has God used distress to shape you in the past?
Read the whole Psalm at the bottom of this update
Wheatstone's requests and praises:
We're asking for earnest, focused prayer for Wheatstone's finances for the rest of this year.
We took some big risks in faith this year: moving to a bigger office, hiring new staff. We prayed and worked and assumed that donations would notch up in pace with the new ministry that these risks permitted, but instead we missed almost all of our fundraising goals, all year long (Student Sponsorships being a huge exception, thank God!). We need this year-end fundraising season to go well, or we will be forced to scale back some of the wonderful growth of the past year. We could keep growing if we caught up over the next few weeks, but we're at a pivot point, and we need your prayers.
Pray that God would abundantly provide for all our needs, and confirm our faith in expanding Wheatstone's ministry for his glory.
This Week's Psalm
O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O LORD—how long?
Turn, O LORD, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who will give you praise?
I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes.
Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.
The LORD has heard my plea;
the LORD accepts my prayer.
All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.