1 O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage. 2 Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak. Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. 3 I am sick at heart. How long, O Lord, until you restore me?
4 Return, O Lord, and rescue me. Save me because of your unfailing love. 5 For the dead do not remember you. Who can praise you from the grave? 6 I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears. 7 My vision is blurred by grief; my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies. 8 Go away, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping. 9 The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord will answer my prayer. 10 May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified. May they suddenly turn back in shame.
I am thankful that in my adult life, I have not had too many episodes where I could really identify with the essence of this Psalm. I can remember my teenage years matching up much more readily, however! In my work with teenagers and young adults, I am often floored by the level of pain and grief that they bear. The stories that I hear much too regularly are, in parts, horrific and, in the least, just profoundly sad. A generation is growing up who know the realities of depression, anxiety, self-harm and abuse before they even get to their mid-teens. Maybe it has always been thus or maybe we are beginning to encounter a new brand of hopelessness. Either way, Jesus is still the only real answer. He is the only one who truly accepts us for who we are; whose love is unfailing; who ‘gets’ our pain and longing more than any other. Jesus’ mandate is to proclaim freedom, release and healing for just such as these. He binds up the broken-hearted like none other.
Questions for thought and discussion…
- What do you see as the most pressing emotional needs of the young people you come into contact with?
- How might you use this Psalm to pray for a particular young person in pain?