Psalm 6 Sick at heart

1 O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your rage.
2 Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak.
Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
3 I am sick at heart.
How long, O Lord, until you restore me?
4 Return, O Lord, and rescue me.
Save me because of your unfailing love.

Psalm 6:1-4 NLT

This Psalm is one of David’s lamentations, an honest admission that he was struggling. Being “sick at heart” is something all of us deal with at times. Sadness and depression can often come during a season of celebration. While others are filled with joy and gladness, your heart may be dark and cold.

Do you hide behind a fake smile so no one will know you’re dying inside, or do you confess your struggle to people who will love and support you through it?

One of the pastors I admire, Scott Sauls, admitted to his congregation that he was struggling with depression during Holy Week. He wrote:

“I told our congregation (plus about a thousand strangers because, well…Easter) that I have a theory about why my week was as dark as it was. I think it’s because God wanted to be sure that people who entered our sanctuary on Easter encountered a pastor with a limp instead of a swag.

“When we preachers limp into and out of our pulpits, God tends to do a lot of really terrific things in the lives of our congregants. But when we hop up there with a swag, when we turn the pulpit into a pedestal instead of an altar, it’s only a matter of time before God loses interest in doing anything significant or lasting through us.

“God’s grace flows downhill to the low places, not uphill to the pompous and put-together places. All the fitness Jesus requires is that you feel your need of him. All you need is nothing; all you need is need.”

If you’ve ever felt anxious, depressed, melancholy, or just plain out of sorts and numb, you’re not alone. We’re all broken; we all need Jesus.

God does not need us to act put-together when we are really broken down and hurting. He needs us to be real, honest people who point other broken people to Jesus, our healer.

“To be alive is to be broken. And to be broken is to stand in need of grace.
Honesty keeps us in touch with our neediness and the truth that we are saved sinners. There is a beautiful transparency to honest disciples who never wear a false face and do not pretend to be anything but who they are.” –Brennan Manning

One of Pastor Sauls’ friends sent him these words from a letter he wrote to his son:

“I continue to pray for you in the struggles you face. I’ve been so helped as I’ve thought about some of the following things. I don’t want you to ever forget that Moses stuttered, and David’s armor didn’t fit, and John Mark was rejected by Paul, and Hosea’s wife was a prostitute, and Amos’ only training for being a prophet was as a fig tree pruner.

“Jeremiah struggled with depression, and Gideon and Thomas doubted, and Jonah ran from God. Abraham failed miserably in lying, and so did his child and his grandchild. These are real people who had real failures and real struggles and real inadequacies and real inabilities, and God shook the earth with them.

“It is not so much from our strength that He draws, but from His invincible might. I am praying that He will give you courage in this quality of His.”

I don’t know what you might be going through today, but I know for sure in God’s great compassion and mercy, his light can penetrate the darkest dark of your heart and bring healing.

May the community of faith share their light with the ones who are hurting–not with the rah-rah of cheers or “you shouldn’t feel that way” theology, but with the soft flickering candle of faith that comes alongside and sits quietly with prayer and compassion.

AS YOU PRAY:

* Say, “Jesus, I love you.”
* Thank God for his open arms to run into when you lack strength.
* Ask God to give you the courage to be real and vulnerable on your bad days as well as your good days.