Psalm 142: 1- 2, 3a, 4-5
“With my voice I cry out to the LORD; with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD. I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him. When my spirit faints within me, you know my way!
Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” ” (ESV)
“With my voice, I plead for mercy.” Hmmm . . . my voice. It expresses what’s inside me. I can show pleasure. I can laugh. I can sing for joy! Good things. I can recommend a great movie, or a fine restaurant. I can be a witness to the Lord’s amazing love! Using my voice to plead for mercy, on the other hand, does not sound too appealing. However, the Psalmist is, at least, pleading to the Lord. Perhaps, the Psalmist is stronger and wiser than I am. When I’ve felt “down and out” I have often tried “everything else first.” I know better, mind you, but still I find that my reflex is to struggle with the weight that’s too heavy for me. I then stumble under its overwhelming power over me, hurt myself, and do no good for anyone. Then, in a defeated and displeased tone of voice, show my feelings to those nearest to me. This is not singing a joyful song, nor is it drawing others to the Lord. If anything, it could draw them away from Him. Not a choice I’d ever choose to make, but unfortunately, being human and thus imperfect, we do not always reflect the light of Christ no matter how badly we desire to.
It is at the very least difficult, and I’d venture to say impossible for us to be forever joyful. I’m tempted to say that if we showed ourselves that way, people would worry about us! On the other hand, the more we draw near to Christ, the more the evil one tempts us and he knows where to find our weak places and knows just what to say. As we draw closer and closer to Christ, the evil one tries harder and harder to break that relationship into broken fragments which turn into doubt, fear, rejection, abandonment, and hopelessness. The Lord is still with us. He speaks to us in a soft and loving voice. When the evil one shouts, it’s necessary to turn away and silence him. It can be done. I had to do this today. I can’t say it’s the first time and I know it won’t be the last. What did I do this time?
- I felt the pain!
- I contacted a friend and asked for prayer support.
- I realized that someone close to me had recently experienced what I was experiencing.
- I looked to the Bible for words to counter what I was feeling and shared them.
- I felt peace beginning to touch me.
- I prayed.
- I listened.
I wish I could tell you that I always react this way. No, I must admit, I am more prone to getting into a bad mood and taking it out on those around me. Not something I’m proud of or recommend, nor is it something I’m consciously aware of at the time. Oh, I even, in those moments, feel justified in my grumbling and then get upset with those who react to my grumbling with their own! I am relieved to report that this time, I didn’t do those things. If you know me and are someone I have done this to in the past, I’m sorry. I will try to get it right next time. Meanwhile, I found these words of comfort:
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NKJV)