You Have Known the Distress of My Soul
It was like trying to fill a bucket that has a hole in it. For twenty-five years she had weathered an emotionally abusive marriage. She had tried to help her husband, but she never could do enough or give enough. She had forgiven and forgiven, granted countless second chances, and patched her broken heart back together over and over again.
Then one day she found she couldn’t go any further. At last, the two of them found themselves in the office of a very good therapist. During the many months she spent there, she learned a lot and healed a lot. Then, in one of her last sessions, the therapist admitted to her that a couple of times her husband had actually succeeded in causing the therapist to doubt himself. “If he can do that to me,” the therapist said, “I can’t even imagine what he does to you.”
“In that moment,” she said, “I broke down in tears because, for the first time ever, someone truly understood.”
Knowing that someone truly understands the deepest wounds of our souls is a powerful source of healing. That heart connection speaks peace into the fiercest storm and is salve for the most wounded heart. Having such a connection with another human being is truly wonderful, but Psalm 31 reveals the even sweeter truth that God Himself knows and understands our most desperate sorrows.
Listen to the psalmist in verse 7: “I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul.” The Hebrew word translated rejoice here means, literally, “to spin around.” And—I love this—the term steadfast love can be translated “merciful kindness.” When we put it all together, the verse comes out like this: “I will spin for joy and be glad because of Your merciful kindness to me, because You have seen my affliction; You have known the anguish of my soul.” The psalmist found great comfort in knowing that God understood his pain—and that the One who understood him was mighty to save. That is indeed a reason to spin for joy.
God sees you, knows you, loves you, and is mighty to save.