Agony and Trust
Father, cover my sin with Your mercy, meet my repentance with Your forgiveness, re-possess me with Your Spirit today.
Read Psalm 6:1-10
 For the director of music. With stringed instruments. According to
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The normal way God deals with us involves a sequence of events—a process that God directs and we are to follow. This requires some patience on our part” (Henry Cloud).
In the midst of celebration of reversal and victory, our readings in Exodus have given us glimpses of the Israelites’ distress and their angry despair as they stood by the sea. Situations of turmoil and agony continue in human lives, and we can thank God that the Psalms provide prayers for such occasions. How many through the ages have cried out “in anguish. How long, Lord, how long?” (3). While the broader teachings of Scripture warn against equating individual suffering and guilt (e.g. Job; Luke 13:1-5, John 9:1-3), there remains the broad truth of God’s “wrath” against human rebellion (1). At times, suffering may be a clear result of individual sin (so this psalm has been described as “penitential”), but more commonly the association is solely in the imagination of the sufferer. Many people have attributed their pain, whether due to illness and injury (2) or the wickedness and taunts of others (6-8a), to divine punishment (1, 2). This way of thinking is sometimes expressed by people in regard to terrible natural disasters.
To journey in prayer through this psalm is to move from focusing on “rebuke” and “discipline” (whether actual or imagined, it is real to the person) to a cry for “mercy” and healing (1,2). There are grounds for such an appeal: God’s “unfailing love” (4). Here is a term often linked with the covenant, encapsulating the long history of God’s “faithfulness” (another possible translation) towards his people and demonstrated, above all, in the relationship that is ours in Christ. The “groaning” continues (6), but there is now confidence: “the Lord has heard” (8,9), a term reminiscent of the Exodus (Exod. 2:24), but now made real in the experience of later, individual worshipers who pray this psalm. In Christ we share this confidence.
Where are you, or others known to you, in the journey of the psalm? Pray through the psalm in the light of God’s love.
Lord, I acknowledge You as the Lord. Forgive me for my impatience with You. I acknowledge You don’t work by my timetable. May I keep in step with Your Spirit.
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