“I am weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears.” Psalm vi.6.
There are times when we suffer privately. Some of our burdens cannot be shared with any soul without the risk of being misunderstood or condemned. Others may at most notice our sighs. But in private, we shed tears. That’s when we must look up to God, the Father of all comforts.
There are a few psalms that record the sufferings of David and the sons of Korah who wept bitterly before God. David was driven to tears by the oppression he suffered from his enemies. “My eye has wasted away with grief; it has become old because of all my adversaries.” (6:7). This pain was made worse by some illness (6:2). When the Philistines captured him, David managed to escape by feigning madness. But he was under constant surveillance (56:6). His feared for his life (v.3, 6, 11). In his petition before God, David hoped that God would keep an account of all the tears he shed during his prayers. “You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” (56:8) Similarly, the sons of Korah faced ridicule from mockers who denied God. They too recounted how their tears became their “food day and night.” (42:3). These tearful petitions are recorded in the Scriptures so that we may know how we ought to pray during our times of distress.
Apart from giving us words to express our sorrows before God, the psalms remind us to seek forgiveness from God for all our transgressions. “Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool!” (39:8) It is important to note that these Psalmists did not rule out the possibility of divine discipline upon their lives when they suffered illnesses or oppression at other peoples’ hands (6:1).
Remove your stroke from me;
I am spent by the hostility of your hand.
When you discipline a man with rebukes for sin,
You consume like a moth what is dear to him (39.10,11)
The Psalmists’ attitude towards their oppressors too were subject to God’s guidance and will. Instead of taking revenge on their enemies, these holy men sought divine remedies for their situation in prayer. “Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call; this I know, that God is for me” (56:9).
Let’s pour out our hearts before God and tell Him all our sorrows. He will comfort us and deliver us from all who trouble us. If not, He will change us and strengthen us to face any circumstance in life.