2019 has not been a good start. Last week, I was hit over the head with news that brought me to my knees. I have had moments in my life when I was so broken that I could not sleep, but rarely have I been so distressed that I could not even pray. This has been one of those times. When the anguish becomes to much I simply sit at the edge of my bed hoping that God will intercede for me in prayer.
In my past, I’ve tried to escape the pain and trauma in my life by numbing or avoiding it. It is no surprise to me, that out of an act of desperation, I have thought about ways to manipulate or sabotage the current situation before me. If my attempt to control the situation does not work, then I can always seek some form of escape. But, these attempts to short-circuit the healing process are futile and end up causing more destruction in the long run. So, the question becomes – what am I supposed to do if I cannot change my circumstances or circumvent the pain?
During my quiet time yesterday, I came across this passage from Psalm 77:4 – “You don’t let me sleep. I am too distressed even to pray!” It completely amazes me how rigorously honest David is during times of suffering. He did not hold back. But that is not the end of the story for David. If you know anything about David, you know that much of his distress was self-inflicted and he would be the first to admit it.
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.
5Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me…
David regularly admitted his guilt before God and confessed his sins. But, it is not just within his own brokenness and unrelentless honesty that I find healing in the Psalms. I noticed something this time that I did not see before. No matter how painful the suffering, David never attempted to escape it. He hid from his enemies at times, but never hid from his pain. He leaned into it, trusting that God would carry him close to His heart – like a shepherd does when he finds an injured lamb that can no longer walk on its own. David thanked God for his suffering no matter how hard or how painful and walked right through the darkest of moments while simultaneously singing praises to his Father in heaven.
“My suffering was good for me, because through it I learned your statutes.” Psalm 119:71
There is a better way for us to heal who have only known one way:
David’s healing process:
- Confess before God your sin
- Cry out to God in unrelenting honesty – any fears, doubts, shame or brokenness
- Lean into the pain
- Thank God for his discipline (if the pain is a result of your own sin)
- Be thankful and praise God as he carries you through