Monday, January 28, 2008

Biblical References to Bones

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, one of my old college friends who is very religious heard about it and wanted to help me find some spiritual comfort. She sent me a letter with several different verses from the Bible that referenced bones. Before that, I never realized just how many times they were mentioned throughout the book. It was really comforting to read them and I don't think I could ever explain to her how much her letter meant to me. Maybe they'll bring comfort to someone who reads this blog, too.

I shall laud you because in a fear-inspiring way
I am wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful,
As my soul is very well aware.
My bones were not hidden from you
When I was made in secret,
When I was woven in the lowest parts of the earth.
Psalms 139:14, 15

Did you not pour me out like milk
and curdle me like cheese,
clothe me with skin and flesh
and knit me together with bones and sinews?
You gave me life and showed me kindness,
and in your providence watched over my spirit.
Job 10:10-12

Terrors overwhelm me;
my dignity is driven away as by the wind,
my safety vanishes like a cloud.
And now my life ebbs away;
days of suffering grip me.
Night pierces my bones;
my gnawing pains never rest.
In his great power God becomes like clothing to me
he binds me like the neck of my garment.
Job 30:15-18

a man may be chastened on a bed of pain
with constant distress in his bones,
so that his very being finds food repulsive
and his soul loathes the choicest meal.
His flesh wastes away to nothing,
and his bones, once hidden, now stick out.
His soul draws near to the pit,
and his life to the messengers of death.
Yet if there is an angel on his side
as a mediator, one out of a thousand,
to tell a man what is right for him,
to be gracious to him and say,
'Spare him from going down to the pit;
I have found a ransom for him'-
then his flesh is renewed like a child's;
it is restored as in the days of his youth.
Job 33:19-25

Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint;
O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in anguish.
How long, O LORD, how long?
Turn, O LORD, and deliver me;
save me because of your unfailing love.
No one remembers you when he is dead.
Who praises you from the grave?
I am worn out from groaning;
all night long I flood my bed with weeping
and drench my couch with tears.
My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
they fail because of all my foes.
Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the LORD has heard my weeping.
The LORD has heard my cry for mercy;
the LORD accepts my prayer.
Psalm 6:2-9

I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted away within me.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.
Dogs have surrounded me;
a band of evil men has encircled me,
they have pierced my hands and my feet.
I can count all my bones;
people stare and gloat over me.
They divide my garments among them
and cast lots for my clothing.
But you, O LORD, be not far off;
O my Strength, come quickly to help me.
Deliver my life from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
I will declare your name to my brothers;
in the congregation I will praise you.
You who fear the LORD, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
For he has not despised or disdained
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.
Psalm 22:14-24

Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and my body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak.
Psalm 31:9,10

My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"
hy are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
Psalm 42:10,11

Hear my prayer, O LORD;
let my cry for help come to you.
Do not hide your face from me
when I am in distress.
Turn your ear to me;
when I call, answer me quickly.
For my days vanish like smoke;
my bones burn like glowing embers.
Psalm 102:1-3

The LORD is far from the wicked
but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart,
and good news gives health to the bones.
Proverbs 15:29,30

A wise man's heart guides his mouth,
and his lips promote instruction.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Proverbs 16:23,24

2 comments:

sly civilian said...

Ezekiel 37 is good.

If you've heard it before, it's where the prophet is lead to the valley of the bones, and see the desolation...God commands him to prophesy to them, to speak life to them.

I've found it to be very significant in thinking about pain and meaning.

Supa said...

Sister,

First time at your spot, and am thanking you for sharing yourself on my blog. Life is not meant to be continual pain and tragedy, and I am happy and *inspired* by your writing and resistance. I see your beautiful spirit!!

There is a very significant book to me called "The Lovely Bones." Heard of? Excellent read. Love, tragedy, death, and the wonders of the afterlife.

I am sorry for your loss, pain, and struggles.

Much much love to you and yours. Strength and light, sis.

Supa aka Jamal