O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish.
How long, O LORD, how long?
Away from me all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.
Psalm 6 v.1-3; 8-9
In this Psalm David prays out of deep anguish and a situation that is impacting every part of him both physically and mentally drawing from him the searching question ‘How long?’ How long will this last? How long must I endure it? How long before you act O LORD? It is a question that is often on the lips of the Psalmists and if we are honest often on our lips as well.
Perhaps you have experienced something of that anguish (is it really too strong a word?,) that has been caused by Covid19. Unable to meet with friends, not seeing family and particularly, for some, grandchildren. Fearful of being in the company of other people even with masked faces and socially distanced. Fearful as to how furlough or actual loss of job will impact the future. Fearing for your children’s progress in the crucial area of education. Unable on a Sunday to meet with your church family and together sing your praises to God – not even able to speak to one another. So the list goes on but one more area comes to mind which is the constant bombardment with frightening statistics re: the spread of the pandemic and conflicting advice as to what we can and cannot do.
This real-life scenario is undoubtedly very different to that which David was experiencing and caused him to write this psalm but how he dealt with his situation is instructive as to how we deal with Covid19 or indeed anything else that may impact us.
- He prayed. Be merciful to me LORD for I am faint. O LORD heal me.
Take your mixed up and anxious thoughts to the Lord. That is the first point of call in this and every situation. Cast all you cares on him for he cares for you. 1 Peter 5.7. That doesn’t mean that all issues suddenly disappear, for among other things such challenges are designed to sharpen us in our Christian walk and make us more Christlike. But we are invited to place the burden on him. A similar challenge but with a slightly different meaning is to be found in Matthew 11 v.28-29
Come to me all you who are weary and burdened (who does that not describe?) and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
This is not the yoke carried the shoulders and across the back to enable the carrying of heavy loads but rather the yoke linking two ploughing oxen – a mature one and an inexperienced one so that the load is shared and the inexperienced learns from and is guided by the mature one.
It is a trite saying that as problem shared is a problem halved but there is truth in it. However when we take Jesus’ yoke he lifts all but that part of the burden which we can bear and is for our blessing.
His prayer was heard! It was prayed v.4 on the basis of God’s character of ‘unfailing love’ v.4 and he was able to exclaim v.9 ‘The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.
So let us rejoice that David’s God is our God.
This God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
Psalm 48 v.4