Song 6

sad girl
Photo credit: <a href="">D Sharon Pruitt</a>

Psalm 6

God, don’t take your anger out on me,
Or punish me out of rage.

Take it easy on me,
Can’t you see, I’m dying here!
God, help me get better.
I am sick to the bone,
And I’m totally terrified.
God, how long will this go on?

Save my life, God!
Save me because you love me!
Dead people can’t remember you,
Or give you any commendation.

I’m tired of moaning.
Every night I flood my bed with tears.
Every night I soak my mattress.
I can’t see through the tears,
And I’m weak from stress.

Get away from me, you bastards!
God has heard my crying.
God has heard my prayers.
Now all my enemies will be embarrassed,
And they’ll know what it is to be afraid.
They lose!
Their fortunes turn to ruin on a dime.

Some Bibles add a heading about this being prayer of recovery from illness. But if it’s illness, it’s what in the modern world we have come to identify with severe depression and anxiety.

All of the moaning and crying, and even sickness to the bone, is brought on from worry. Worry about the actions of someone else, about things that are beyond our control – enemies. In the end, it turns to bitterness.

Truly, worry is one of the most paralyzing emotions. Little by little it draws the circle of vision inward and constricts the soul, until there is nothing left but bitterness. The psalmist is right in identifying death as being the ultimate result. If not physical death, spiritual and emotional death. Even God seems far off when we are reduced to worry, and everyone becomes an enemy.

What’s the value of a psalm like this?

Hold it up as a picture of where you don’t want to go. Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t let yourself become so obsessed with someone else that you cry yourself to sleep every night, night after night, and waste away day after day. Or if you see yourself in this picture now, get help. Depression is treatable.

Nobody should have to live in this Psalm’s world.

Just Let It Go

1001 Balloons
Photo credit: Vincen-t

1 Thessalonians 3:6-10

But now, Tim has just come back from you with the good news that you remain faithful in your love, and that your remembrance of us and longing to see us is the same as ours toward you. Friends, this, your faithfulness, has encouraged us in all our anxiety and mistreatment. So long as you are standing firm, we can go on. We can’t thank God enough for you, for the joy God’s given us through you! We pray around the clock, now more than ever, that we’ll be able to see you in person again to fill in the holes in your faith.

A small victory has been won. The Thessalonian church hasn’t yet capitulated to the pressures of persecution they are under. Nor have they repudiated their personal allegiance to Paul. But even this great relief is short lived, giving way almost immediately to the new anxiety that their faith is still inadequate.

Such is the way with worry. One fear is assuaged, only to give rise to the next one. And the next one beyond that. Nothing is ever safe enough. Always there is the possibility of the next thing going wrong. And, for all the big talk of how great God is, for those who are prone to worry not even the power of God is enough to reassure. And so it goes that the most vociferously faithful are often also the most chronically fearful.

The holes are not in the faith of the other. The holes are in the faith of the worrier. Holes that are only dug deeper by taking increasingly frantic steps to reassure. Holes that can only be filled by stopping to take a breath. And with that breath, letting it go.