Rescue Me, O God
“I am suffering and in pain. Rescue me, O God, by your saving power. Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving.” (Psalm 69:29–30, NLT)
Praying in times of pain is as important as praising God in times of deliverance. In her book Troubled Minds, Amy Simpson reveals the following highlights from her survey about dealing with mental illness in the church. Simpson reveals nearly half (44.5 Percent) of church leaders are approached two to five times per year for help in dealing with mental illness. She also emphasizes when Christians are on medication or diagnosed with a mental illness, over a third of Christians keep the matter very private. Unfortunately, there is an unbiblical belief held by some churches which equates emotional distress with a lack of faith.
In Psalm 69, we find David praying while experiencing intense suffering. Instead of keeping his pain private, David describes his stress to God in painstaking detail. He declares how he cried out so intensely that his “throat” feels like it is burning; he mentions that his inner being is ablaze; he feels he cannot go on because his eyes are “failing” after shedding so many tears. Yet even though David is in emotional distress, He is still holding onto faith by seeking God. For David, emotional pain did not lead to distrust in God - it gloriously pointed him to God. It appears Christians can shed tears and hold onto God at the same time.
Even though David’s tears made it difficult to see how God was going to rescue him, he was still filled with hope by looking forward to the day that God would act. By commenting on this chapter Ellen White writes, “Let His [God’s] love take possession of mind and heart. Guard against becoming overwearied, careworn, depressed. Bear an uplifting testimony. Turn your eyes away from that which is dark and discouraging, and behold Jesus…” Seeking God in times of pain also prepares our hearts to praise Him during times of rescue. “The humble shall see this and be glad; And you who seek God, your hearts shall live.” (Psalm 69:32, NKJV)
- Have you ever felt the emotional intensity that David described? A burning throat, fever-like symptoms or the inability to control tears? When? What was this like?
- If you are in a season of suffering or pain, find someone with whom you can share your struggles with. Choose someone who will listen well and pray for you.
- If you are in a fruitful season, you may know someone to whom you can reach out with a listening ear and a heartfelt prayer.
Ellen Gould White, Maranatha, The Lord Is Coming (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1976), 159.