Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress.
Tears blur my eyes.
My body and soul are withering away.
I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness.
Sin has drained my strength;
I am wasting away from within.
I am scorned by all my enemies and despised by my neighborsâ€”
even my friends are afraid to come near me.
When they see me on the street, they run the other way â€¦
But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, â€œYou are my God!â€
My future is in your hands.
Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.
Let your favor shine on your servant.
In your unfailing love, rescue me. Â Â Psalm 31:9-11, 14-16 (NLT, my emphasis)
â€œJust because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.â€ â€“ Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961).
The writer of the psalm could have identified with the character in this modern novel. Feeling down and believing that people dislike you or are avoiding you does not make it any less true when they actually are!
Most of us have gone through times of isolation and loneliness. Whether you are a soldier or student far from home and family or it’s a season of health problems that keep you home bound, there is a loss of tangible love, of connection. It’s one of the reasons I believe that the gift of encouragement is so vital in God’s Kingdom. Those who have this gift see the loneliness in others. They hear God’s whisper to call or connect with someone even when they do not have concrete evidence of a problem. They bring a message of God’s love at critical moments.
The writer of this psalm begins simply, â€œI am in distress. I am crying when I thought there were no more tears. I have nothing within me to pick myself and I am alone.â€ And when I am drained like that is when God is easily able to fill me up with all that is within Him. When all my independence is drained away and all my ideas to fix myself, then God can come in with His healing salve and warm cloak of restoration. When I keep trying to do it myself or use others to prop me up then I dilute God’s perfect treatment.
Peter tells me that God’s timing is perfect (2 Peter 3:8-9) and He will keep His promises. When everything is going down the sink, the promise I always remember is that God will not leave me. Just as I would never leave my child unattended in a mall full of strangers neither will God leave me unattended in a world that doesn’t truly love me.
Jesus is better than any BFF (best friend forever) on Facebook, Twitter, or any other place in this world. That’s a forever truth from Him.
I Need You More written and sung by Lindell Cooley