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Wasted From Grief

Psalm 31:2 (ESV) -- Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also.

At some point in life, everyone will experience grief. Grief comes from the loss of something. It is the emotional response to the absence or loss of something treasured and loved. We grieve the loss of people we love. We grieve the loss of jobs, opportunities, and seasons of life. Sometimes we grieve things we didn’t experience or get to have. Grief is a part of life. 

Our text today reminds us of this reality and showcases how our prayers should respond to it. The psalmist says, “Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also.” The psalmist is in distress. His eye is “wasted” from his grief. What does this mean? It means his tears are so heavy and frequent that his eyes are probably swollen and bloodshot. He is physically spent. 

The last sentence gives us a clue to his state. His “soul and … body also” are distressed. The source of the distress is turmoil of some sort. His circumstances are not favorable. But it is more than just not getting your way that brings grief. It is loss. The psalmist is in a season of mourning and grieving some loss. 

Notice how he prays: “Be gracious to me, O LORD.” The cry is for grace. His plea is for the LORD who comforts, heals, and sustains to show grace to him. This is the proper response to our grief. It isn’t that we should minimize the painfulness of pain or deny our grief is that bad. The opposite is true. It is right to grieve, but we should do so while depending on the grace of God to care for us. 

He asks for God’s help. Do we have to ask in order for God to help us? No, not necessarily. But when we do so, a dependence on the LORD is demonstrated. The LORD is our gracious Helper. Turn to Him in your grief and pain. You may feel wasted from grief in this season. It is okay to acknowledge your pain and discomfort. Ask God to be gracious to you in it.

Reflection & Journal:
- What effects on the psalmist did the grief have?
- How does the psalmist pray in light of this grief? 
- What lessons does this text teach you about prayer in your pain?

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