Today’s Confessional Psalm is Psalm 38, which you can read here.

The past 3 weeks have been some of the most physically frustrating weeks in recent memory.  I have had this unwavering stiffness in my neck.  It just won’t go away!  I have tried stretching. I have tried heat packs. I have tried a chiropractor. I was already going to a physical therapist. There have been moments in the last three weeks when all I can do is sigh and groan because of the pain, frustration, stiffness and actual pain in my neck when I wake up in the morning.

Now, I’ll admit there are all sorts of factors contributing to this, and in all honesty the pain has been more annoying then debilitating. But as I read Psalm 38 my own experience helps me understand the agony, pain and frustration that David must have been feeling as he wrote this Psalm.

You’re probably thinking,  “Hey, there’s a big difference between David’s condition and Jared’s condition.”  And you’re right! I haven’t once thought that I was being punished for sin in my life via neck pain. However, this is definitely David’s frame of mind as he writes this song for the memorial offering (I’m basing that assumption on the title of the Psalm in the ESV translation, this is literally translated to bring to remembrance.)  It seems as if this is the function for which the psalm exists.  It’s interesting to me that this song seems rooted in a single moment of David’s life, but it is used as a part of the memorial sacrifice. It would have been recited over and over again.

I’m not sure if the memorial sacrifice was given on a regular basis, or just when there was a difficult time that was unexplainable.   The sacrifice might have been used to remember and dwell on the depth of the consequences of sin.  David talks about his own sin but then brings up the difficulty in life that seems unexplainable.  He talks about his kinsman (who were a big deal in the ancient world because of the security that came from the family unit) standing far off, and vigorous, strong enemies setting snares.

I’m sure we’ve all had times where it seems like those close to us are “standing far off” or that there are enemies of various types all around. In those moments, how can we turn to anything but God? These are the moments where I feel the most hopeless. These are the moments that nothing seems to make sense except God. People hate us wrongfully. They stand against us because we are doing what is good. We cannot comfort ourselves on our own. We cannot hope in anyone but the Lord.

Who do you look toward when you are in need? Yourself, your family, or maybe google?

Where do you look for your salvation? Government, technology, or possibly medicine?

The only place that we can put our full confidence, trust and hope is in our Lord who is our salvation as we are reminded in the last verse.

Make haste to help me,
O Lord, my salvation!

So I did this the other night as I was heading to bed, fearing what I would feel like in the morning. I told God that I trusted him and that I hoped in him. I told him that I would rest and wait for him to send relief. I don’t think it always works this way, but in the last couple days I finally started to have some easing of the soreness and sense of healing as my neck starts to get back to normal.

I think my physical experience the past few weeks can serve as a metaphor for when I run into relational pain and psychological anguish. In my flesh I usually go down one of two paths: ignore that it exists or try to fix it on my own.  When I’ve come to the end of those, I turn to the Lord.

Oh may we learn to turn more and more quickly to the only hope and the only salvation we have, our Lord Jesus.

{If you have thoughts about this Psalm or any of the others we’re covering this summer, hop on over to our Facebook group,  where we’re hoping to experience conversation and community around the Psalms this summer!

Also, if you’ve missed any of our Summer in the Psalms devotionals this summer, you can find them all on our Campus Impact Blog.}

Jared Hartman is the Campus Impact Worship & Leadership Pastor. He got involved in Campus Impact as a student way back in 2002, then served as a worship intern. He and his lovely wife Sarah have a beautiful 1 year old daughter. This summer ejoying some traveling, along with BBQing and gardening. You can reach Jared at jhartman@lincolnberean.org.