Distress & Sorrow Relief

Lest you think from all the words of praise and joy and blessing that life is a great party the reality is that pain, distress and terror are a part of it too. This Friday morning when walking into the office I heard I had the “on-call laptop” next week, and immediately my heart sank and soon I was in a full blown funk. This purchasing job is deplorable enough with the heavy workload, the information overload and the minutia of procedures, which are completely impossible to follow, and now I get to live it 24 hours by being on-call, making it all despicable. Then my migraine kick in, and I knew it was not going to be a good Friday. There was no joy, no camaraderie, even the drudgery of the daily tasks were more dreary than usual. I even felt I’d be in no mood to even read my Bible at lunch, a life-line which I find invaluable, a mid-day moment of restoring some sanity to my world. I find the Bible makes far more sense than this job does, which most times makes no sense at all, with the over-complexities and built in confusion and conflicts. I felt I was going to be in no mood to even open the Book when lunch time came. I just wanted to find a dark place and disappear.

So when I was finally able to take a lunchbreak I headed outside to escape. I found a place to sit and managed to open the Word, to the Psalms where I’m currently reading my way through the Word from cover to cover. It was Psalm 116. I was surprised at what I read as it pretty much matched my depressed mood. The writer expressed things like:

Psa 116:3 The cords of death encompassed me And the terrors of Sheol came upon me; I found distress and sorrow.
Psa 116:4 Then I called upon the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I beseech You, save my life!”
Psa 116:8 For You have rescued my soul from death, My eyes from tears, My feet from stumbling.
Psa 116:10 I believed when I said, “I am greatly afflicted.”

Even verse 15 expressed something I could relate to on this day:

Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His godly ones.

That was me, “Give me relief, take me into Your presence, please!”

That pretty much summed up what I was feeling. When you need rescuing you aren’t usually in the bliss of the mountaintop experience. No, you’re in the pit of despair or on the edge of the precipice, feeling like death, just needing a breath of wind to push you over. It is not unlike terror in many ways, and definitely like being afflicted. It’s not something you get over easily, you don’t just snap out of it. It is painful and it takes time to plough through it.

But even in the funk of this gloom the Lord doesn’t leave you alone. In imperceptible ways He’s slowly guiding you through it. You do need to take the time to make your through it. I found some small relief in reading this Psalm seeing that someone has gone through such despair and lived to tell about it. To tell how he made it.

Even in the first verse he gives the answer, before he even lists the horrors he felt:

Psa 116:1 I love the LORD, because He hears My voice and my supplications.
Psa 116:2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.

So I’m not just crying out into the void of the vast universe, someone does hear and respond.

Psa 116:5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate.
Psa 116:6 The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.
Psa 116:7 Return to your rest, O my soul, For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
Psa 116:16 O LORD, surely I am Your servant, I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid, You have loosed my bonds.

In spite of the gloom and depression with which sometimes life drags us down there is ultimately a response to fight it. It’s not always easy to see, the resolution isn’t often perceptible to engage, but if you take enough time to look for it, it can be found. I was grateful for fighting through and expending the energy to open His Word.

Psa 116:12 What shall I render to the LORD For all His benefits toward me?

[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]

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