“Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye wastes away from grief, my soul and body also.” (Psalms 31:9)
The psalmist does not say, or at least has not said yet what is causing this grief. If the psalmist is indeed King David, then it could have been written in a time when David was experiencing grief; and that was several times in his life. But we are not doing a study on King David. We are moving through our own season of Lent; you, beloved reader, may have a variety of things you are grieving, as do I. Also worthy of grief is our relative conditions of sin, and our need for confession, penance, and forgiveness. Does all of this rise to the level of wasting away? That is something each person must decide for themselves.
“For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my misery,
and my bones waste away. I am the scorn of all my adversaries, a horror to my neighbors, an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me.” (Verses 10 – 11)
Many years back I read a book that was formative in my life. It started out the statement, “Life is pain”; if those were not the exact words, it is a very close paraphrase. It was, for me, permission to realize and confess that life could be difficult and that there would be suffering. But that did not mean I was living incorrectly or unfaithfully, but the life is hard and there is suffering. We are not alone, however, because God and our Lord Christ journey with us.
“I have passed out of mind like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel. For I hear the whispering of many— terror all around!— as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.” (Verses 12 – 13)
If we do not or have not suffered as the psalmist has, or have not suffered as others around us have or do, that does not mean that God is not with us.
“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors. Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.” (Verses 14-16)
Psalmist knew, or came to know, what we know or should come to know – that, God is with us no matter what. And what evil, suffering, or sin that we might encounter our Lord Christ will shine us and save us with steadfast love.