O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long? Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies' sake. For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks? I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies. Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping. The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer. Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly.
Psalm 6 is known as the first of the penitent psalms. Like so many other psalms, the passage gives us an insight to the turmoil of David as he seeks God's mercy and deliverance from his enemies. In the first few verses, we see the severity of David's condition. He's broken. He's sick. He's weary. He's overwhelmed. And oddly enough, he's at a loss for words. Notice the wording of the third verse: My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long? How long? How long for what? How long until what? It could be that David understood that the Lord knew what David meant. Or, it could be that David found that he just didn't have the words to finish that question.
Have you ever posed a "how long" question to the Lord but found that you were too weary or overcome to put your feelings into words? Perhaps you meant to say something like this:
How long, O Lord, until my health is restored?
How long, O Lord, do I have to put up with this job?
How long, O Lord, until my full-time work results in full-time pay?
How long, O Lord, until my loved one accepts you as Savior?
How long, O Lord, will this storm last?
How long, O Lord, before I see my dreams come to fruition?
How long, O Lord, until I see Your face?
How long, O Lord, will I have to cry?
I don't know about you, but I've had a lot of "how long" questions throughout the course of my Christian walk. Some of them I could put into words, and others were only liquid prayers in the form of my tears. But that's okay too. Look at what the second half of verse eight says: for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping. Notice that. Not the "sound" of my weeping, but the "voice." Our tears have their own voice, and they speak loud and clear into the ears of our Lord. He understands the pain that causes each one to fall, and He understands the messages they speak -- words that our mouths can't seem to utter. Yes, the old gospel song says it so well--tears are a language God understands. What a blessing when the words just won't come!