O lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee:
2 Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;
3 For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.
4 I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:
5 Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.
6 Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.
7 Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.
8 Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.
9 Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: Lord, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.
10 Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.
11 Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?
12 Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
13 But unto thee have I cried, O Lord; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.
14 Lord, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?
15 I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.
16 Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off.
17 They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.
18 Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.
“I am confined and cannot escape.”
Thousands of years later, Heman’s despairing lament is echoed by millions facing tedious weeks of home confinement. Rich and poor, famous and infamous, male and female, all suffer at the hands of the indiscriminately insidious Covid-19.
Suffering appears in a variety of hues. It may be the result of a pandemic, or persecution, or disease, or rejection, or countless other forms of agony. Regardless of the unique hue, all sufferers feel imprisoned by desperation and suffering. Is there no way out? Eyes grow dim from weeping; strength vanishes. Friends and family often abandon the sufferer or fail to understand the struggle.
Crushed hearts cry out to God: Why don’t you answer me? Why are you hiding from me? Out of desolate despair, we beg for God to relent, to respond, to show His face. Trapped in sorrow, we yearn for God’s comforting presence. Surely His love can set us free.
Grief-dimmed eyes often fail to perceive the presence of God. Yet despairing emotions are no true gauge of God’s presence. Our lack of perception never equates to God’s absence.
Confined by suffering? Fear not! God is eternally present. His love will never be quarantined.
Chaplain (currently disabled), Eugene, Oregon USA