Meditating on Psalm 130.
Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord;
2 Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications. (vv. 1-2)
As I read the words of Psalm 130, I remember myself fearfully groping in the dark more than ten years ago, trembling and not knowing what to do. I was suddenly afflicted with a strange illness that made me extremely weak, like I didn’t have a backbone and my flesh trembled to the marrow. I had fainting spells. But the most terrifying of them all was my mounting nervousness. It was like my mental faculties were breaking down, like I was scared to even breathe. Weakness like that feels like you’re being sucked by quicksand into your death. It makes you panic uncontrollably.
In-between my consultations with various specialists, I also went to a psychiatrist. This was after a priest’s insistence that I saw one. I knew it wasn’t what I needed, but I tried it anyway. I was ushered into a dimly-lit room. I sat in a couch and when my eyes had adjusted to the dark, I saw the lady psychiatrist sitting in an armchair to my right. She was older than me, maybe in her late-forties. Her demeanor made me think she also would commit adultery if given the chance. No, she wasn’t sexy or anything like that (and I was wrong to judge her). It’s just that – I didn’t trust her for my peace. For that was what I was desperately searching for. Peace. Peace for my soul. If I found that, then I would be well.
Looking back now, I remember the psychiatrist like she herself needed peace in her life, too. I knew that aura when I saw one – career woman, strong personality, maybe a shopaholic, too. Confident on the outside but heavily laden on the inside.
In those days you were living apart from Christ… You lived in this world without God and without hope. (Eph. 2:12 NLT)
I left her office more miserable than when I entered it, and with the thought that I wasn’t coming back. Ever. I was looking for peace. I wanted to talk about spiritual things, but she wanted to talk about worldly things. Like leaving an unhappy marriage and pursuing my own happiness. Well, I couldn’t really blame her. That’s all she had; that’s all she could give. It would be many weeks later before I would hear these words spoken to me, I give you Jesus.
That same afternoon, I squeezed myself in a crowded counter of Mercury Drug, the prescription from the psychiatrist laid out on the counter in front of me. Suddenly, I realized the stares from the people around me. I followed their eyes and saw the prescription in my hand: Dr. so-and-so, Psychiatrist. What were they thinking? That I would suddenly go berserk and hurt them? Ha!
3 If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared. (vv. 3-4)
I didn’t care about the psychiatrist’s prescribed pills. I threw them all away after trying once. How could medicines bring peace to one’s soul? It was because of my sins that my mind and body were shutting down. But there was forgiveness in the Lord. Acceptance. Salvation. Healing! He alone could make me whole.
O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is mercy,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
8 And He shall redeem Israel
From all his iniquities. (vv. 7-8)
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