Consolation Series- Part 16 - Suffering in Solitude
neither discipline me in your wrath.
Have mercy on me, Yahweh, for I am faint.
Yahweh, heal me, for my bones are troubled.
My soul is also in great anguish.
But you, Yahweh—how long?
Return, Yahweh. Deliver my soul,
and save me for your loving kindness’ sake.
I am weary with my groaning.
Every night I drench my bed with my tears.
My eyes waste away because of grief.
I grow old because of all my adversaries.
Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity,
for Yahweh has heard the voice of my weeping.
Yahweh has heard my supplication.
Yahweh accepts my prayer.
May all my enemies be ashamed and dismayed.
They shall turn back, they shall be disgraced suddenly.
Several years ago, I was hospitalized for over a week with a nasty gut infection. For several weeks after my release, I was required to administer an intravenous drip of antibiotics several times a day including the middle of the night. Either as a result of my illness, or as a reaction to the antibiotics, I became profoundly depressed. To occupy the time while the I.V. dripped and to distract myself from dark thoughts, I read some of the psalms. To my surprise, those psalms that were a complaint to God, or a cry for help - especially this one - were a real comfort.
The revelation that became Scripture knew that suffering is a lonely endeavor. And it knew that in the darkest nights of the soul it is easy to imagine God as distant. These psalms invite us to acknowledge that feeling of distance, but also to challenge it. God shares even that suffering.