The present pandemic and resulting restrictions, has brought a real challenge to many of us.
News channels keep reminding us that people are suffering right now:
And people are afraid of that suffering getting worse, into the future.
As well as the obvious risk to physical health, there are concerns for mental health and financial health too, as a result of lock-down.
In the early days, when people were panic buying, you could not find Paracetamol anywhere, as people stocked up on pain-relief.
This Psalm understands pain, but uses another all-encompassing word - distress - instead.
Distress can include physical, emotional, mental and spiritual pain - as well as financial pain too.
Life during lock-down can be joyless, and some people may find that anxiety is causing insomnia.
This Psalm looks at all these issues.
This Psalm talks about distress-relief.
Please look out for the various aspects of distress as you read this Psalm.
What solutions does the Psalm offer in return?
Answer me when I call to you,
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.
Tremble and do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the Lord.
Many, Lord, are asking, ‘Who will bring us prosperity?’
Let the light of your face shine on us.
Fill my heart with joy
when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4 (NIV)
Now is the time to reject delusions and false gods.
Now is the time to search our hearts and be silent - before God and his Word.
Now is the time to ask the Lord to fill our hearts with joy.
Now is the time to declare: You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.