The Blessing of a Heavy Hand

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. 

I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin…

Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
    and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” Psalm 32:1-5,11

“For your arrows have sunk into me,
    and your hand has come down on me.

There is no soundness in my flesh
    because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
    because of my sin.
For my iniquities have gone over my head;
    like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.

My wounds stink and fester
    because of my foolishness,
I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
    all the day I go about mourning.
For my sides are filled with burning,
    and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am feeble and crushed;
    I groan because of the tumult of my heart…

My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
    and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me…

For I am ready to fall,
    and my pain is ever before me.
I confess my iniquity;
    I am sorry for my sin…

Make haste to help me,
    O Lord, my salvation!” Psalm 38:2-8,10,17-18,22

“Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.” Romans 11:22

David’s honest confessions are a penetrating instructor for our souls. When we allow his words to resonate with our experience, we recognize how personally and intricately God works to keep us in communion with Himself and to sanctify us into His likeness. We are rough stones with no soundness, in need of a Savior who can convict and cleanse, refine and polish.

Nobody invites or enjoys misery, and in the flesh, we try to avoid it in any way possible. But preoccupation with (and complaint about) our misery can blind us to its redemptive purposes in God’s wise economy and love. Blessed may not feel the heavy hand, but blessed is its work and outcome when we receive it from our sovereign Savior.

Are we suffering God’s indignation and crushing under the weight of His pressure? Would we ask where is our sin, what we can learn, and yield to His mercy in confession? How willing are we for Him to rifle through our hours and minds to extricate sin habits, foolishness, and self-centered attitudes? What is my confession, and how earnestly have I followed the Lord’s ordained pain through to its blessed end?

Lord, make me miserable in sin, and joyful in confession. Restore light to my eyes so I see You in Your splendor and shine Your love and grace on others.

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