I sat with my husband through two major open heart surgeries, two pacemaker replacements, two hernia repairs and two dental surgeries. I can’t count the hospital stays and procedures involving veins, arteries and cameras.
I have a toothache and a broken toe.
Wah, wah, wah.
Bless his heart. To his eternal credit, while I’ve limped around holding my jaw and moaning, he hasn’t once said, “Well, that’s nothing.”
It is something. I need a root canal and my toe hurts. My husband’s heart transplant doesn’t make either feel any better.
Four years ago, during the first open heart surgery I for which I was present, people would apologize to us for complaining that they had some ache or pain. “I know it’s nothing compared to what you’re going through.”
In the middle of it all, a tsunami hit Japan and the following came to me:
While someone else’s trauma may put yours in perspective, it doesn’t lessen it.
And you know what? It doesn’t lessen it in God’s eyes either.
When you hurt, God never thinks, “Would you get over it? Do you know how many people in the world have bigger problems than you?!”
David cried out: “Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary with crying; my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God. (Psalm 69:1-3)
While David offers up repentance in this chapter, he does not apologize for the way he feels. He just begs for help, knowing it will come:
“But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord, in the acceptable time; O God, in the multitude of Your mercy, hear me in the truth of Your salvation.” (vs. 13)
“Hear me, O Lord, for Your lovingkindness is good; turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies” (vs. 16)
In Psalm 70:5 David says, “But I am poor and needy; make haste to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.”
Umm, wait a sec. David was the rich, well-loved, good-looking king of Israel.
If I was married to him, I would be tempted to say, “Would you get a grip?!”
Fortunately, I’m not God.
You see, that word “mercies”actually reads, “Your covenant loyalty.” David knew that God always keeps His covenant.
Remember Your covenant, O God!
I feel like I’m going to die but You made Your people a promise:
“Therefore know that the Lord your God,
He is God
the faithful God
who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.”
David had a firm grip of the principle that would be taught by the writer of Hebrews about 1000 years later.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
Boldly: “with freedom of speech.”
Grace: “Kindness by which God bestows favors even upon the ill-deserving, and grants to sinners the pardon of their offenses, and bids them accept of eternal salvation through Christ”
Mercy: “as it is defined by loyalty to God’s covenant;” “that of God toward sinners”
David, in his prophetic prayers 1000 years before Christ, felt freedom in coming before the throne of God with his hurts. He reminded God of His covenant with His people. Then he always remembered to praise Him for His goodness, even before his prayers were answered.
“I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.” (Ps. 69:30)
Go back to Hebrews and read the verse that tells us why we can be bold.
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15)
Today, we too can take our troubles before the throne of grace, knowing that nothing is too small for God.
Jesus did not die on the cross so that He could say, “My suffering was so much worse than your piddling little troubles.”
He offers mercy.
God remembers His covenant.
Now and forever
“For God will save Zion and build the cities of Judah, that they may dwell there and possess it. Also, the descendants of His servants shall inherit it, and those who love His name shall dwell in it.” (Ps. 69:36)
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away….Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself with be with them and be their God.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.'” (Revelation 21:1-4)