Remember long car rides when you were a kid? Trapped in a small space with an irritating sibling on a road that seemed to last forever…it is no wonder kids ask “How much longer?” every twenty minutes.
“How long?” is a question of desperation, an attempt to measure the duration of painful circumstances.
It seems any discomfort is more bearable if we know how long it will last.
In Psalm 6, David is trapped in physical and emotional pain. He is weary, worn out from weeping through night. So what does he do?
David takes his pain to God. He humbly asks for mercy and healing and relief from his agony. He unashamedly asks, “How long, O LORD, how long?”
In addition to his pleas for mercy and healing, David asks God to do three things (v. 4).
1. Turn, O LORD. David asks God to turn, to take notice of his suffering.
2. Deliver me. David asks for a way out of his pain.
3. Save me. David appeals to God’s unfailing, steadfast love as he asks God to save his life.
After speaking honestly about his pain and questions, David closes his prayer, confident of three things.
1. The LORD has heard my weeping (v. 8).
2. The LORD has heard my cry for mercy (v. 9).
3. The LORD accepts my prayer (v. 10).
Though David did not get an answer to the question, “How long?”, he never questions that God hears his prayer.
The Psalms show us how to take our pain to God in prayer, to ask for healing and rescue, to ask how long painful circumstances will last. And this song of David gives us confidence that God hears our weeping and our prayers.
Father, thank you that you hear my prayers. Thank you that I can be honest about my pain and questions with you. Like David, I ask you to turn toward me, to deliver me, and to save me because of your unfailing love. Be merciful to me, LORD. Amen.