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A Season of Psalms - Psalm 137:1-3

Psalm 137:1-3

By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our lyres. For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion!’”

English Standard Version (ESV)

In The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis said “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Have you ever read a poem extolling the virtue of pain or seen a statue erected in its honor? Neither have I. Someone once said, “Pain plants the flag of reality in the fortress of a rebel heart.”

Pain is the context of Psalm 137. In its Babylonian captivity, Israel looked longingly toward Zion. They would gather by the rivers to pray and remember, and in their painful remembrances the tears would flow and the memories would come flooding back. They recalled the joy and exhilaration of being in Zion during the appointed feasts and special convocations. But now in their captivity, they couldn’t return to Zion and worship in the holy places. To make matters worse, their captors regularly called upon them to sing the songs of Zion, but they declined. With broken hearts, how could they sing the Lord’s song in a land of heathen idolaters? The pain was too great!

Pain is no respecter of persons, and certainly no one is immune to its effects. We will all experience pain emotionally, physically, socially, or relationally. Some pain is unavoidable and uncontrollable…but in the midst of our pain, we can remember and rely on the God who is faithful and able to deliver us. There’s nothing He can’t do. He knows our pain; He knows what hurts us. What hurts us hurts Him. Let Him help you. And like King David, we’ll be able to say, “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

Further Reading: Psalm 38; Acts 5:12-16

Pray with me today:

Father God, You know the pains and wounds that I carry. I confess that I need You every hour, Lord, in my joys and in my hurts. To You I come, just as I am. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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