Loss feels like rebuke. Loss feels as if God is angry.
“O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath!” Psalm 38:1
Loss feels like a discipline, for sure. Whether it’s an intentional act of discipline for wrong-doing or not, loss is still a time of discipline. O Lord, but do not discipline me in your wrath. Instead, carry out your discipline in keeping with your steadfast love.
Loss resembles a crushing blow from an angry deity. Ants feel the weight of a human shoe. I get it. Arrows sink into flesh. A deep wound, indeed. Indignation delivers illness to bones. Or was that wound from my own sin? My sin and my loss are too heavy a burden to bear.
Injury in my soul, brought on by my own foolishness, weighs upon me. I am bowed down. Prostrate. Loss born of brokenness reveals the need for redemption.
“…all the day I go about mourning.” Psalm 38: 6
The pain of it all delivers a punch. The sting of this wound doesn’t go away quickly. Sides burn.
I’m reminded of my first night following loss. I was in pain all night. I moaned. I tossed. I was feeble and crushed. I couldn’t make out the next day or the next week or the next year or the next decade. Groaning endures all the day—and all the night. No reprieve.
“O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.” Psalm 38:9-10
And the song that came to mind that first night, “Forever Reign,” and the words, “You are good, you are good when there’s nothing good in me…” And the verse that came to mind the next morning, Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning, God…”
My longings are before God. He sees and hears clearly when I sigh, moan, or groan. The pain in my throbbing heart, the feebleness of my knees, and the lack of visibility are all before El Roi, the God who sees me.
“Jesus! what a Friend for sinners! Jesus! lover of my soul; friends may fail me, foes assail me, he, my Savior, makes me whole. Hallelujah! what a Savior! Hallelujah, what a Friend!” J. Wilbur Chapman, “Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners”
I have great friends and family. Supportive friends and family. But not everyone has that sort of consistent support. Loss changes things—even relationships.
David had enemies. His heart is throbbing, the light has gone out of his eyes, and they seek his life. They intend to hurt, even ruin, him. And through it all, David can only exist. Endure. He says nothing as if he’s mute and hears nothing as if he’s deaf. An outcast.
“But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.” Psalm 38:15
David stands helpless in the midst of enemies. Silent. He knows God will answer. He waits in faith-filled patience. He recognizes he is hopeless—they boast, seek his pain, and rejoice over his pain-filled brokenness. They are vigorous and mighty foes. They are hate-filled, and they return evil for good.
But what his enemies don’t know is that David acknowledges his sin and his hopelessness. He confesses his evil heart. He is remorseful for his sinfulness. God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).
God sees your groaning.
“O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!” Psalm 38:21-22