How Long, O Lord?
"O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long?" - Psalm 6:1-3
In Psalm 6 David is pleading for God to deliver him from his sin, but moreover, to spare him from the discipline which has accompanied this sin, made manifest in the physical attacks from his enemy.
By this point David is exhausted. One must wonder if God had only just revealed that David's ongoing struggle was due to his personal sin or if David had been harboring his sin rebelliously (like Gollum protecting his Precious) only now seeking forgiveness? Whatever the case, the sheer magnitude of emotion and an acknowledgement of his need for mercy, the quick-giving relent of discipline, can't be missed.
How long, O LORD? David is wondering how long will God allow him to feel the soul-crushing anguish he feels right now. Spoken as though any moment longer without practically experiencing God's mercy would actually crush the King in body, mind, and spirit; later, David even flirts with the idea of his own death!
It is hard to imagine a king robed in the most wonderful cloth and firmest armory in such a sorry state. A tear-streaked, shaking, and desperate man is not the preferred picture of royalty. Truly, David is laying into God's mercy with an ugly honesty.
Perhaps we can't imagine ourselves in this embarrassing posture either. Our suit may be too tight or our hair done up too sleek to attempt an all-out plea for forgiveness. If we are uncomfortable with this kind of repentance then it might be that we have stroked our sins and bore their results too long without calling out to God. Through David's plea God is showing us a different way this season: letting God unbutton our souls.
May that be a challenge for us at Trinity as we seek God during the next seven weeks of Lent. To be a bit more undignified, so that honor would lie with the One who truly deserves it: our Savior who hears our cries for mercy and delivers us from ourselves.
My name is Laura Jane Phillipson. I am a coffee junkie, wannabe musician, friend to some, acquaintances with most, family to few, and could talk for hours on refugees, travel, missions, dream vacations, books, good food, and an obscure sandal-wearing carpenter. My favorite hobby is figuring out my life. I've been at Trinity five years.