Depression, loneliness, anguish – these are not very “positive” words, yet they describe conditions that all of us face at one time or another in our lives. When a person has to deal with something that causes such feelings, a common thought is, “I am all alone with this”, or “No one has had to deal with what I am dealing with right now”. Yes, at such times, feelings of isolation seem to swell up like a monster wave and make things even worse.
Although a person may “feel” isolated, the psalms clearly show that this is not correct. In fact, throughout the Bible, many of the great people of faith had to deal with serious problems that left them in turmoil, depression and anguish. At one time, Paul was so discouraged and anxious that, when an opportunity to spread the Gospel opened up, he decided instead to seek Titus instead. After Peter denied the Lord three times, the cock crowed and Jesus looked at him. Peter fled from the courtyard, and wept bitterly.
The Lord instructed Samuel to tell King Saul that he was cut off from the Lord due to his disobedience. Samuel did what the Lord told him to do, but his grief for Saul was so deep, that the Lord told him to get up and go to Bethlehem. What about Abraham? What were his thoughts as he took Isaac up to sacrifice him to the Lord? No, the terrible emotions that accompany the trials of lifer are not reserved simply for people today. Men and women throughout the centuries have had the same problems.
This is why the words of David in Psalm 6 are so relevant for us today. In this Psalm, we find, David trying, unsuccessfully, to deal with a very heavy load. It may have been at night, we do not know, but his turmoil is very evident. Look at the words that describe his anguish “I am faint Oh Lord; heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long O Lord, how long?” (vs. 2-3)
How often have we echoed such words? In verses 6 and 7, David continues, “I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.” David’s foes were certainly real enough; but during the night, they were coming to him in his thoughts and dreams. Sometimes the worst foes we face are at night in our thoughts.
If Psalm 6 ended with verse 7, then the mood and message would be very bleak, and there would appear to be very little comfort for us as we face our trials and foes. But David continues in verses 8-10. As he considers the events in his life, he turns to the only source that can truly provide help and comfort – prayer to the Living God.
In this psalm – this prayer – we can actually see David beginning to put things back into perspective. Yes, he was facing severe problems. Yes, his foes seemed to be too numerous to count. Yes, he saw no immediate solution. But he knew that he was the Lord’s Anointed King over Israel. He knew that the Lord was with him in spite of what his emotions were telling him, and he knew that the Lord would help him. As he prayed, the problems and foes begin to recede into the background.
Notice that the Lord did not answer his prayer with an impressive miracle, or instant answers. In this Psalm, we see no evidence that the outward foes were gone. Instead, the Lord answered his prayer in his heart and soul. THAT was where true peace and healing would begin.
Today, many Christians repeat the words of David. “How long, O Lord, how long?” Our Father’s answer may not be immediately apparent. When we wake up the next morning, the problems of life will still be there. But our Father will respond immediately within our souls.
David’s peace came from the fact that he was able to face what was ahead. As Children of God, as members of-God’s Household, how much more can we expect help when we pray for healing and release from our anguish?
Depression, loneliness, and anguish exist in life. Christians are not guaranteed a trouble-free life in this world, but in Jesus Christ, we KNOW that the Lord will help us. We KNOW that today’s problems will fade. We KNOW in Christ that we CAN overcome our foes. Faith, trust, prayer practiced everyday works!
Psalm 6 – What a jewel!
– Jim Shelburn