Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Living Ethically in the Light of the Bible
Matthew 3:13-17; Acts 3:1-10; Psalm 6; Genesis 12-13
Psalm 6 expresses the thoughts and feelings of anyone who has been seriously ill, in a lot of pain, or going through a very difficult situation. “How long, O Lord, how long?” This is not superficial pain, but suffering that goes to the depth of our being. The psalmist’s bones are in agony, his soul is in anguish. His pain arises from and points to the Bible’s holistic view of the person. His pain was experienced physically, emotionally and spiritually. He felt it deeply, crying all night long to where his bed was flooded with his tears.
The psalmist expresses his pain and sorrow openly and honestly. He shows us how to express our sadness and grief to God. He also expresses his frustration and impatience. Praying Psalms like this one can help us give expression to the thoughts and feelings that may lie buried within us as we grapple with pain and illness. We may be hoping for a cure like the crippled man received in Acts 3:1-10. When is someone like Peter or John going to come along and bring healing from Jesus Christ? What will it take to bring this about? Yet we are also told that this man was crippled from birth, and he must have prayed for years, “How long, O Lord?”
The reality is that we have no guarantee of healing—at least not in this life. The ultimate relief may not come until after death (Revelation 21:1-4). But what we are promised is that God is with us in our suffering. The psalmist takes comfort in knowing that God has heard his cry of pain; he has heard his prayer. His comfort comes from knowing that God has heard him and is with him in his pain. His comfort is not based on an expectation that God will heal him. The psalmist does not demand that his God get rid of his pain, illness or enemies. Instead, the psalmist trusts that his God is with him even in the midst of terrible pain. Such is the promise of a God who views relationships as the most important aspect of life.