Psalm 6

It happens all the time in songs (and in stories.)

For the first two verses, everything is bad. And then the hero comes, the story turns, the cavalry arrives, the light dawns. We love to read these stories, to sing these songs, because they give us hope. The first two verses are exactly where we are. Adrift, in pain, needing relief, wanting answers. The last verse is where we want to be, acknowledged, accompanied, heard. And when the writer lived the words, all the better.

The practical among us don’t understand these songs: “Why include the doubting parts? They aren’t true, you know. The hero was watching all along.” But practical people, deep down, need hope too.

That’s why this song from the practical poet David can speak to all of us.

A reflection on Psalm 6.

God.

I know that you may be angry with me.
But if you are, please wait til you cool off before you punish me.
I am already fainting; please have mercy on me.
And the ache goes to my very bones;
I need healing more than I need more pain.
Inside and out, I am falling apart.
Can you please speak to me?
I feel like I’ve been waiting forever.

Change your mind and deliver me from all this.
Remember, dead followers can’t say good things about you.
And they can’t remember you very well either.

I groan and sigh all the time.
I can’t sleep at night,
the sofa is soaked with tears
My eyes are bloodshot
And all I can see is my enemies.

***

You know what, enemies,
you can just leave now.
God has heard me crying out
I’ve kept him up with my weeping.
And he finally heard.
And he’s coming for you.
You are going to run scared.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

5 thoughts on “Psalm 6

  1. Hi Jon,
    Reading this brought tears to my eyes. How come when I read the bible it never makes sense like this does? Is there a version of the bible you could recommend that would be as clear as this?

    Thank you very much for taking the time every day to write to us. I really like reading your stuff.
    best,
    Ellen

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    1. Thanks, Ellen.

      I struggle with version of the Bible question all the time. For reference work when I write something like these psalm paraphrases, I use the New International Version and the New American Standard and a couple of others. For reading friendly, I like the Message, all the more after I read “Eat this book” by Eugene Peterson, the guy who did the message. And I like the New Living Translation. Both of them are more modern language.

      And then I chew on what I read. I sit in the middle of the text, looking at the people who are involved, looking in the mirror, assuming that there were real people writing and that there is a real God. Those are big assumptions. They draw lines for interpretation, but that’s where I am.

      In a way, when you read something like this, you are reading the inside of my heart in reflecting on the text. Which means that you can do it too. Taking the words from any translation and putting them into life.

      It’s hard sometimes, for me to slow down to do it. That’s why I’m not a translator. But every time I stop and listen, I think I should do it more often.

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