Today’s Bible reading is Psalm 6.
I’m thankful for Psalm 1. “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.”
I’m thankful for Psalm 23. “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
But I’m also thankful for Psalm 6 because sometimes the soul does feel like it’s withering. Sometimes it’s a struggle to find the light in the depths of the valley. Sometimes God seems distant. Sometimes we feel forgotten and lost.
If that’s you today, perhaps Psalm 6 is worth a serious look. David, the author of the psalm, describes himself as “languishing.” “My bones are troubled.” “My soul also is greatly troubled.” How bad has it gotten?
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. (Psa 6:6-7)
What can you do, how can you pray, when your soul is in such turmoil?
Notice that David doesn’t deal with his distress by attempting to change the nature of God.
O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath. (Psa 6:1)
We cannot change the character of the Creator. Anger and wrath are manifestations of his perfect holiness. But don’t let the truth of verse 1 overshadow the opportunity of verse 2–“Be gracious to me, O LORD…”
David is honest about his distress in the present storm, but the heart of David is also anchored to a God greater than any tempest. A God who hears.
The LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.
The LORD has heard my plea. (Psa 6:8-9)
A God who cares.
The LORD accepts my prayer. (Psa 6:9)
A God who is able.
Turn, O LORD, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love. (Psa 6:4)
We dare not attempt to change or misrepresent the character of our perfect Creator. Anger and wrath, righteousness and justice, steadfastness and love are all foundational aspects of his holiness. But praise God, in the midst of the storm–a storm that perhaps we have played a part in stirring–we can pray with David, “Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing.”
I’m thankful for lesser-known prayers like Psalm 6. You probably won’t find it emblazoned on a coffee cup, but maybe one day it will be just the ray of light you need in a dark, deep, terrifying valley.