You may have heard it said, there’s a Psalm for every season—some explode with joyous praise to a good God who showers us with mercy and grace. However, if your day is shaping up to be “one of those days,” then Psalm 6 is for you. Picture the scene. David was holed up in some cave somewhere on the run from people seeking his life (6:10); possibly Saul, but we don’t really know when these events took place (David had to run and hide a lot). Not only was David on the run, but he was also sick. Verses 2 & 3 describe his suffering, such that even his bones hurt.
This was a bad day, not only physically, but spiritually. David connected his suffering and sickness to his sin. Verse 1 makes clear that he understood his suffering as a rebuke and discipline from the Lord, thus he asked for compassion and healing. David’s sin grieved him deeply, so much so that he has to use his bed as a flotation device from all his tears. He even complained of vision problems due to his eyes swelling from crying so much.
I realize that some people reading this are probably having a day much like David’s. Some people might be facing sickness, loss, or any number of things; and if you’re not, you probably will be soon. With that said, there are a few points I want to make concerning David’s example in dealing with suffering. First, while sickness and suffering are not necessarily the result of sin (Jn. 9:2-3), it may be (1 Cor 11:30). David has certainly made that connection. Secondly, David placed his confidence in the faithfulness of God. In verse 9, David stated with confidence that “The Lord has heard” and “The Lord will answer.” David rests in what the NLT translates as God’s “unfailing love” (6:4) The Hebrew word here is hesed, which we’ll see a lot throughout the Psalms. This word refers to God’s special love he has for his covenant people, often translated “loving-kindness,” “steadfast love,” etc. The point is that David understood and rested in God’s promises because God is faithful.
Lastly, I want to highlight the raw emotion we see in this Psalm. David killed lions and bears with his hands, he stood before a giant Philistine warrior and killed him with a rock. If you think it’s unmanly to cry (or play a harp), think again! Suffering hurts, and as the church, our hearts should break for those in suffering as it is a reminder that our final hope remains unfulfilled. One day our tears will be wiped away by Jesus when death and pain are no more, but that’s not today. Today, let your hurt have its effect, reminding you that you were designed for something more. As Dr. Larry Crabb writes:
We don’t like to hurt. And there is no worse pain for fallen people than facing an emptiness we cannot fill. To enter into pain seems rather foolish when we can run from it through denial. We simply cannot get it through our head that, with a nature twisted by sin, the route to joy always involves the very worst sort of internal suffering we can imagine. We rebel at that thought. We weren’t designed to hurt. The physical and personal capacities to feel that God built into us were intended to provide pleasures, like good health and close relationships. When they don’t, when our head throbs with tension and our heart is broken by rejection, we want relief. With deep passion, we long to experience what we were designed to enjoy.
If you’re experiencing a season of suffering, in what ways can you remind yourself of God’s faithfulness and the hope we have in Christ?
If you’re not currently experiencing a season of suffering, how can you seek to “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2) with someone who is suffering?
By: Tyler Short