Read | Psalm 38

Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger

    or discipline me in your wrath.

Your arrows have pierced me,

    and your hand has come down on me.

Because of your wrath there is no health in my body;

    there is no soundness in my bones because of my sin.

My guilt has overwhelmed me

    like a burden too heavy to bear.

My wounds fester and are loathsome

    because of my sinful folly.

I am bowed down and brought very low;

    all day long I go about mourning.

My back is filled with searing pain;

    there is no health in my body.

I am feeble and utterly crushed;

    I groan in anguish of heart.

All my longings lie open before you, Lord;

    my sighing is not hidden from you.

My heart pounds, my strength fails me;

    even the light has gone from my eyes.

My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds;

    my neighbors stay far away.

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.

I am like the deaf, who cannot hear,

    like the mute, who cannot speak;

I have become like one who does not hear,

    whose mouth can offer no reply.

Lord, I wait for you;

    you will answer, Lord my God.

For I said, “Do not let them gloat

    or exalt themselves over me when my feet slip.”

For I am about to fall,

    and my pain is ever with me.

I confess my iniquity;

    I am troubled by my sin.

Many have become my enemies without cause;

    those who hate me without reason are numerous.

Those who repay my good with evil

    lodge accusations against me,

    though I seek only to do what is good.

Lord, do not forsake me;

    do not be far from me, my God.

Come quickly to help me,

    my Lord and my Savior.

Respond | Joey Dearduff

What we hear in this sufferer’s plea for healing is a familiar cry easily transposed into our living reality and an assurance perhaps not as easily believed. The psalmist puts to words what we likely feel, if not for ourselves then for our loved ones and our neighbors: My heart throbs, my strength fails me, as for the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me. For the psalmist, the neighbors stand far off not because they are social distancing, but because they have alienated the one who suffers. We, however, are alone together. As neighbors standing far off from one another so that we might steward this time of increased care and caution, we together rest with a paradoxical sort of restlessness with the Lord who knows our longing, from whom our sighing is not hidden. Lord, be alone with me but not with me alone. Amen.