By Karen Baloy
“1 Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. 2 Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. 3 My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long? 4 Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. 5 Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave? 6 I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. 7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. 8 Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping. 9 The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer. 10 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.” Psalms 6
This psalm was written toward the end of David’s life when he was expressing sorrow for sin. It is the first of seven psalms that are referred to as Penitential Psalms or Psalms of Confession. While not all sickness is a direct result of personal sin, when it is, the pain can be instrumental in bringing the sinner face-to-face with God.
David and I have shared the same battle cry. One early morning in 2015, I woke up and wasn’t able to count numerically. Over the next few days, I began to lose my words. I had to stop driving a few weeks later because I couldn’t remember where I lived. Shortly thereafter, I started losing weight rapidly. Then my organs started to fail and I was too weak to walk more than a few yards. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.
Doctors and family members had their opinions of what was going on, but I knew none of it was true. I was eating well and serving myself healthy portions. I kept searching for answers all the while being taken care of by adult babysitters. Through the help of a dear friend, I eventually received a diagnosis of long term chronic Lyme disease. It took over a year to rehabilitate my body with very expensive treatments. While I had a series of biological risk factors to contract the disease, years of stress on my body made me particularly susceptible.
Lyme disease is incurable. The best I can hope for is to have long remissions where I can lead a normal life. But I live with the uncertainty that I could flare overnight and my life could come to a screeching halt for anywhere from a few days to a few months. The threat looms large. I would often cry myself to sleep wondering what the next day would hold and whether I would have to cancel my plans yet again. I immediately related to David when he cried, “I am worn out from all my groaning; All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.”
After spending a lot of time in the Word and reading “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young, I realized that God was using this disease to teach me how to live in the present. I wouldn’t wish this disease on anyone, yet I am grateful that it forced me to lean on Him rather than my worries and human understanding to get through each day. God is the great Healer and Comforter. Thanks to Him, I no longer let tomorrow’s worries steal from my today. “The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.” Indeed, the Lord receives my prayer EVERY SINGLE DAY. Thank you, Jehovah-Rophe (God our Healer)!