February 07, 2020

Lord, Have Mercy

Psalm 31:9-16

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.

—  Psalm 31:9

Sometimes the suffering of life feels overwhelming, as if we are under attack and can’t find any relief. We may be debilitated by the grief of losing a loved one. Or maybe we are sick from a medical condition or treatment. Whatever the case, there are days when we feel the weight of the world on us. Lord, have mercy.

The psalmist here is feeling besieged by relentless human forces, along with the abandonment of his friends. He uses words like distress, anguish, groaning, affliction, forgotten, and terror. He fears that he will die at the hands of his enemies, and he cries out to God in agony. Lord, have mercy.

Perhaps you can recall a time you felt that way, when the walls and ceiling seemed to be closing in on you. While my personal suffering pales in comparison to that of people with chronic illness, I do remember feeling particularly burdened when—a few weeks after my second surgery for cancer—my husband had a heart attack and also needed surgery. In his recovery room, a compassionate nurse prepared a bed beside him for me to rest in as well.

Looking back on turbulent times, we can see how the Lord was with us and delivered us. God answers the cries of his people and shines his loving face on us, lighting up the darkness.

O God, you are my God, and I trust you. “My times are in your hands.” Help me not to let my life’s troubles cloud my vision of you and the hope that is found in you alone. Amen.

About the author — Bonny Mulder-Behnia

Bonny Mulder-Behnia is a pastor in Bellflower, California, with 25 years of experience in church staff, educational, congregational, and pastoral ministry. She is married to Jahan and has two adult children and a grandson.

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