Saturday, February 24, 2018

Turning Inside Out: Psalm 6

Just a note: I did a “quick” read-through of the Bible, marking all references to men and women talking to God. I’ve written about a few of these, all from Genesis so far. Now I’m attempting to do more of a “deep dive” in the Psalms, which, of course, are full of prayers to the Lord. My goal is to have Biblical prayers shape our prayers.

I’ll come back to Psalm 5 in another post, but in Psalm 6, we find a person overcome by the grief or adversity, so much so that he is turning inside out. It’s a sickness, and an unpleasant illustration would be a person who has the stomach flu, when what is inside just cannot stay there, and bursts out. Sometimes, sadly, people’s grief and anxiety does likewise.

In the good old days, people were better at bottling this stuff up. Keep the sickness in. Now, I’m not serious about that. Bottling up is not good. But you also know the pendulum effect. We go from keeping too many secrets to keeping none. And so today we have people gushing on Facebook about all kinds of drivel, actually manufacturing crises so they have something to post. That’s not what is happening in this psalm. This is real pain, and it reveals itself in real prayer.

Wouldn’t it be better if our soul-sicknesses were published to God in prayer rather than on Facebook? 1 Peter 5:8 doesn’t say, “Casting all my cares on social media, because all these so-called “friends” care so much.” They don’t. But God does. The text actually says, “Casting all your anxieties (burdens, griefs) on Him (God), because He cares for you. The verses before says, “Humbling yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that, at the proper time, He may exalt you.” This kind of prayer to God is actually part of the process by which God brings grace into our lives.

I don’t know that there are any redemptive qualities to the stomach flu. But I know that there are from cares, anxieties and grief. These events in our lives are not the product of “dumb luck.” God, in His wisdom and providence, so orders that we are improved through this experience of tragedy. Now some tragedies are clearly the product of evil, but even there, God can use these for our good.

If nothing else (and I believe there are many other benefits), grief and despair drive us to prayer. And that seems to be something of what prayer is, a person turning inside out to God.

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