Balm for the Troubled Soul

“To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. On an eight-stringed harp. A Psalm of David. O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger, nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; But You, O Lord—how long? Return, O Lord, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake! For in death there is no remembrance of You; In the grave who will give You thanks? I am weary with my groaning; All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away because of grief; It grows old because of all my enemies. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity; For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; The Lord will receive my prayer. Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled; Let them turn back and be ashamed suddenly.”– Psalm 6

When trouble overwhelms, when difficulty and stress and the emotions that well up around and from them seem to consume and occupy not only deeper parts of our hearts but also most of our thoughts, the majority of the time, we can easily and quickly find ourselves slipping into the depths of distress. Maybe you can relate. If you can, know you’re not alone. Many, if not most, of us can say that we’ve gone through times like this. King David knew such spiritual and emotional depths, even what we could call a roller coaster, well. In Psalm 6, we find him on such a ride. This was a heart wrenching ride where David cried out to the Lord as he knew and recognized his weakness, and pleaded for God’s mercy. As his body was sick and his soul greatly troubled, he also beseeched the Lord his God for healing (v. 2). This was distress that would require just the right balm for his troubled soul.

What was the balm that David so desperately needed and in fact used in his time of need? God’s grace in David through his prayer of faith. Indeed, If you’re sick or afflicted, sing this psalm, meditate upon it, and let its truth guide your prayers! Further, see the position from which David approached God here. He had a heart that was humbled by divine humbling providence. He had a broken and contrite spirit. God had taken him through some hard providences that David learned from. So, David cried out for deliverance! He knew what was true of the righteous and our Lord- “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” (Psalm 34:17-18) Praise God for the mercy and salvation that is freely given to His people in Christ! (Ephesians 2:8-10) Praise God that He hears us and delivers us out of trouble. Praise God that He is near to us, in us, and with us by His Spirit!

As David’s troubles were very heavy upon him and made him weary, notice that the tears flowed as he considered his sin. Such is the testimony of a humbled and broken heart. Notice the detailed description of his sorrow as he cried and wept, as he flooded his bed and drenched his couch with tears (v. 6). It was when sin sat heavily upon David’s conscience and he was made to see his sin, when David’s soul was wounded with the sense of God’s wrath, then he truly grieved. Have you experienced times of great sorrow, grief, and tears because of your sin? May we all feel such weight in humility and brokenness. May that weightiness drive us more and more to our Savior, taking great comfort and joy that He in His love for us took our sins upon Himself on the cross and bore the dreadful weight of them for us as He paid for them all.

So, the prayer of faith is salve that soothes the soul as it demonstrates and communicates a heart that fully trusts in the Lord, His promises, His presence, and His work. As David told his enemies to get away from him, how could he do so with confidence and courage? “For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.”, David said. David had true faith and trusted the Lord that He heard his cries and tears. Further, David had faith that God heard his supplications and would receive his prayer. David also believed that God would therefore act and bring shame upon his enemies and either convert or destroy them.

Beloved, praise the Lord that God has given us such confidence in Christ! Know that God is at work putting Christ’s enemies and ours under His feet. May the truth that He is the one who hears and answers your prayers be balm and sweet salve for you, when your soul is troubled. For you can have great confidence in Him to do so!

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15)

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16)