A Psalm of pain- Psalm 38

Psalm 38

A psalm of David. A petition.

1 LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger
   or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Your arrows have pierced me,
   and your hand has come down on me.
3 Because of your wrath there is no health in my body;
   there is no soundness in my bones because of my sin.
4 My guilt has overwhelmed me
   like a burden too heavy to bear.

5 My wounds fester and are loathsome
   because of my sinful folly.
6 I am bowed down and brought very low;
   all day long I go about mourning.
7 My back is filled with searing pain;
   there is no health in my body.
8 I am feeble and utterly crushed;
   I groan in anguish of heart.

9 All my longings lie open before you, Lord;
   my sighing is not hidden from you.
10 My heart pounds, my strength fails me;
   even the light has gone from my eyes.
11 My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds;
   my neighbors stay far away.
12 Those who want to kill me set their traps,
   those who would harm me talk of my ruin;
   all day long they scheme and lie.

13 I am like the deaf, who cannot hear,
   like the mute, who cannot speak;
14 I have become like one who does not hear,
   whose mouth can offer no reply.
15 LORD, I wait for you;
   you will answer, Lord my God.
16 For I said, “Do not let them gloat
   or exalt themselves over me when my feet slip.”

17 For I am about to fall,
   and my pain is ever with me.
18 I confess my iniquity;
   I am troubled by my sin.
19 Many have become my enemies without cause;
   those who hate me without reason are numerous.
20 Those who repay my good with evil
   lodge accusations against me,
   though I seek only to do what is good.

21 LORD, do not forsake me;
   do not be far from me, my God.
22 Come quickly to help me,
   my Lord and my Savior.

Ever spend extended time in serious pain?

It can be debilitating.

Sometimes your breathing is so shallow that you get

lightheaded.  Pain can eat away at your spirit-

it can escort you right into the threshold of

depression.  And you find yourself looking for

distractions and/or purposes.

Why am I in this place of torture?

What can I do to lessen this misery?

Where can I find some release/relief?

You feel isolated and alone.  Your sense of

yourself is diminished and you feel like you

are being punished.

It can get pretty bad.

This psalm has that kind of logic- pain logic- in it.

Not that David hadn’t sinned.

Not that he didn’t deserve the guilt and sorrow

that he is describing.

It is just that  WHEN you are in pain- the whole

world of creation and the Creator seem to be

in collusion against you.

You become a suffering diva.

This is MY pain.  My sorrow.  My sin.

My back (OH, MY BACK!).

You call out for help.

for mercy.

You confess.

You look at those around you like they don’t

know or care,  they can quickly become your


I’m so thankful that Jesus Christ knew pain and death.

He can understand this perspective even though He

did not give in to it. 

The last two verses are the best in the psalm.

They redeem the entire litany of pain that comes before them.

21 LORD, do not forsake me;
   do not be far from me, my God.
22 Come quickly to help me,
   my Lord and my Savior.


3 thoughts on “A Psalm of pain- Psalm 38

  1. I’m so sorry you have to go through this. I wish there was something I could do for you. You are and have been in my prayers. I love you!

  2. LOL! Or ha ha! Not sure which one is more acceptable for more mature writers.
    I love you both and thank you for your prayers.
    There are many moments of no pain right now. It just keeps coming back with a vengeance and throws me back into that pit.
    I did, however open up a perspective into this psalm that I hadn’t considered fully before.

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