Psalm 6:1-3 O LORD, rebuke me not in thy anger, nor chasten me in thy wrath. Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is sorely troubled. But thou, O LORD -- how long?
There is a name for someone who is only there when they want something, or when they can get something – its not a real friend, it’s a fair-weather friend. And such a "friend" is no friend at all. One of the things we value most in our friends is their loyalty, we want people who stick with us. We expect for God to always be there – and we are frustrated when our prayers do not get immediate results.
Have you ever heard someone using the phrase I’m dying for …. ? or, I’ll die if I don’t get …. ? If we are using such expressions for ordinary things, what do we say to indicate a real life or death matter? This is one reason God has said ‘let your yes be yes and your no be no’ – exaggeration can be one form of lying, and we know that lying is wrong.
But the center of this text is the love, mercy, and grace of God. It is the center, because often we are the fair-weather friend – we only want God when we need something, and the rest of the time we act as though he isn’t there and doesn’t mater. This is quite dangerous for us to do, for not only does it weaken the faith we have, it also places us in danger of loosing our faith altogether. Not that anyone can take it away from us – but we can lay down this gift of God that is ours in Jesus Christ, and having laid it down, it is not hard to forget where we put it.
Our faith is important, not just when we are in need, but every minute of every day – everyone sins – but faith leads us to repent of our sins and to seek forgiveness. It is important that we not delay – because sin separates us from the love of God in Jesus Christ – faith is the anchor that keeps us from being blown away.
While it is common to look at this text as speaking to those who have some serious illness, that is not all it speaks to – for example: it might be the sort of thing that someone who is struggling to live as a child of God might say, when frustrated, that they cannot do the good they would, or when facing a temptation that seems overwhelmingly irresistible.
It is hard to be patient, it is hard to wait, it is hard to suffer quietly – but they comfort of this psalm is even though it seems like God is slow, even though it seems like relief cannot be found, even though it seems that it is more than we can handle: we know that God will not test us beyond our ability. We know that even if we are faithless, God remains faithful.
It is good for us to remember that we are dust and to the dust shall we return – remembering this will prevent us from being puffed up with pride, and it will help us to remember why we need God not just for the storms of life, but every single day.
There may be days when the weeping seems to go on forever – but even then, our anchor secure in Christ, we remember that God is everlasting, and so is his love for us in Jesus Christ.