Reading: Psalm 38
O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. … for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
I sigh constantly. No really. Dozens and dozens of times a day. It drives my poor wife nuts. “What’s that sigh for?” is her constant refrain. And she has to ask because I sigh over any number of things, big and small. Sometimes she makes a game of guessing what made me sigh. Sometimes I don’t even know.
I have to work at not sighing so much around her and around other people. Not only is it annoying, but it also burdens those around me with troubles that are often my own to bear. More than that it spreads the anxiety which drives me to sigh in the first place without giving any opportunity for real solution. That is to say, it’s often simply not helpful and can even be harmful.
But even as my sighing might drive my wife to the other room (it really is annoying), my sighing is never hidden from the Lord. In fact, all of my longings are laid out before him. I couldn’t hide from him if I wanted to.
On the one hand this is frightening. My internal and external conditions are often not pretty, and as David said, “My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague.” His sin and sickness are foul, his “wounds stink and fester” (v. 5). God sees all of this. I’m reminded of an old Puritan pastor who, upon receiving praise from a congregant about being a good man, said, “Madam, if you could see into my heart, you would spit in my face.”
But on the other hand, though others would turn away from me in disgust, God receives me as a son. Because of what Jesus has done, he is not put off by my sickness and sin. Instead, he is ever-ready to receive me. “It is ironical that the more a person needs human support, the less (by his abnormality) he naturally attracts it. It is the gospel that has done most to change this” (Derek Kidner).
Thus, in my sighing, my sickness, my sin, it is for the Lord above that I wait, confident that he will—that he does—hear me. All my sighings are before him. All the burdens that no other man could bear or should bear, he bore on the cross. And by his wounds we are healed.
Lord above, forgive me my iniquities, my sins which are ever before your face. How they must offend you.
Yet, you have not pushed me away. Instead through your Spirit and through the work of Jesus you have drawn me near. Let me feel the embrace of your love. Teach me to wait on you with confidence and hope.