Monday, March 28, 2011
O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger,
or discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
O Lord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror.
My soul also is struck with terror,
while you, O Lord—how long?
Psalm 6 (excerpt)
His body writhed in pain as he thrashed upon his tear-soaked bed. Death hung over him as if imminent, pressing its dark claws down over his mind, his dreams, his soul, his very lust for life. Within him, his skeleton rattled its desperate cry, “Heal me!” His room’s walls shook with the plea as Yahweh’s searing judgment threatened to prolong his hours of anguish.
Yet, he remembers. David recalls. He awaits deliverance because of one sure fact that emerges in the midst of a feverish night, losing memory of all else—The Lord is steadfast in love. The Lord will attend to his prayers, to his desperation, to his ailing body, and to his threatened livelihood.
Thus will I cry out! Because of your steadfast love. And thus will you save me! Because of your steadfast love. I have no escape but to plead. I have no way out but to lament. I may not escape pain, run from tears, turn away my enemies…apart from the steadfast love of the Lord.
We are more comfortable avoiding pain. And we are prone to avoid calling out in our hour of need. For our want of security and maintenance of pride prevent them, respectively. Yet the way of the cross dashes them both upon the inescapable reality of God’s unfailing, unending love as we permit our side to be pierced as the spear pierced Christ. He wrestled in anguish as David wrestled in anguish. And he called out in despair as David called out in despair. Yet, the darkness of that hour was broken by the light of Love. Love that is eternal. Love that saves. Love that liberates. Love that remembers and keeps its covenant. Love that does not abandon. Love that shows kindness and mercy. Steadfast love.
Our God, we confess that we often reject or attempt to escape the hardships and pain which would return us into Your loving arms. Make us as David, as Christ, and teach us to cry out to You in our dark nights of soul, body, and mind. Take us into and through the shadow of the cross that we may emerge re-oriented by Your unfailing love. Amen.
Jennifer L. Aycock is a freelance writer for McCormick Theological Seminary and a student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.