In all probability, King David suffered from Major Depression Disorder. He spent a life lamenting and displaying symptoms of this malady (see book, “Grace for the Afflicted” by author and psychologist, Matthew S. Stanford). In Psalms 40, however, David is rejoicing and praising God for rescuing him from this horrible despair. He reminds us that if we continue in the Lord, believing in Him, fellowshipping with Him in humility, He will rescue us. Moreover, He acknowledges that, even if The Lord did not immediately rescue or rescued at all, God is still good, always, however; in His lovingkindness and grace, His thoughts toward mankind are innumerable. Simply put, He loves His children, both of His physical making and spiritual rebirth.
But it is as David draws near to the end of this praise that I catch my breath. In vs., 11, he is praying to God to “withhold not [His] tender mercies from [him]” and to let His lovingkindness and truth continually preserve him. As I study this verse and search the meaning of “tender mercies,” I find that it is a rarely used Hebrew term in the Old Testament. The transliteration is “racham,” meaning the cherishing compassion that a mother has on her womb. It is the protection, closeness, sustenance, and very breath, that a mother uses to nurture her unborn child.
While I have and continue to mother many teens throughout my life, I am not a mother, biologically. I can never understand what it means to have my heart walking outside of my body. But God does. He relates to us in every way possible. In the flesh of Christ, He has been tempted as we have been tempted, and as Father God, He is also Mother and loves, as we love. It is in this love, these tender mercies, where I find my peace and sanctuary, reminded that in His womb, under His wings, within His shadow, I am safe. This is my identity as His child. This is my sanctuary.