Bones in Agony

It’s amazing how life can change in a split second. Since we moved to our place in the city in the center of Munich, I had walked this path thousands of times before! Once, while I was doing the very same thing I tripped, came crashing down on the street, broke my shoulder, and ended up in the hospital.

In reading over Psalm 6, don’t quote me, but I’m sure that David must have been suffering from a broken shoulder! “Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony (Psalm 6:2). From the stories of other broken shoulders, I hear the word “agony” a lot.

As we all know, we feel the “agony” in some way or form in our lives. But we have Someone who can heal our brokenness in any form—physical, mental, spiritual.

King David had confidence in that Being. Psalm 6 is the classic King David, outspoken about his feelings, and not shy about using the most passionate language to express them. He was the Maestro of Misery—he knew what it felt like. His graphic description of how wretched he was: My bones are in agony… (NIV).

David was devastated by what was happening to him. His pain went so deep that it even became physical, so thorough that it passed through his flesh and into his bones, and then penetrated the core of his being. His suffering affected every aspect of his mind, body, and spirit.

He was exaggerating in typical hyperbole—flooding his bed with weeping and drenching his couch with tears. But exaggeration or not, we get the point, for this does put into words what so many of us feel when our pain is far more than we can handle.

It’s important to remember that David was not trying to “tough it out” or pretend that things weren’t quite so bad. He let it all out. And this was a key to his healing. We gain nothing by putting on a good act or trying to make our friends think we’re invincible. No one is. The toughest, most battle-hardened soldier can break down if the pain of loss hits home. That is why we need the family of God to surround us in times like these—praying for us and encouraging us with their love and presence.

In the Psalms of King David, in condensed form, he issues the complaint of his agony, then tells the reader what God did about it—in time. David describes how the Lord heard his weeping, heard his cry for mercy, accepted his prayer, and even turned things around for him.

If it weren’t for the ending, this would be just another cry in the wilderness, mere shouting at the wind. Remember, the Psalms are songs sung because there was something to sing about. It’s not just singing the blues, but rather a music of the soul that accomplishes something—it touches the heart of God. In his mercy, God pours out his healing, blessing, and happy restoration.

In all their distress he too was distressed,
and the angel of his presence saved them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them
all the days of old.
 -Isaiah 63:9

God hears us and our pain to strike his own heart—in all their distress he too was distressed. The best news is that in his love and mercy, he redeems us. He brings us our “daily bread,” whatever it is that we need to get through the challenging times. More often than not, the comfort is for today, but the restoration is for tomorrow. Wait for it.

May God pour his blessings on you and break you free from whatever grief or discouragement that holds you down and keeps you from walking freely and joyfully in him.

Photo by Matthias Schröder on Unsplash

John I. Snyder
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