There is in Christ a refuge for the weary, a balm for the sick and a song for the merry. No matter what our outlook or circumstances, Christ is our divine cordial (a comforting, pleasant tasting medicine).
"Is any afflicted? Let him pray." I suppose there is no sweeter prayer ever prayed to the ear of heaven's Lord than that of a sinner who has nothing and trusts nothing in himself and seeks all in Christ (Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:13-14). Our Lord told the woman at the well, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water" (John 4:10). In all of our affliction, whether from within or from without, we are exhorted to pray. To pray is to come to Christ with open heart and lip, unburdening ourselves to Him, believing Him for all. To pray is to bring our need. To pray is to speak out our sorrow, to tell what we feel -- yes, to tell it all. It is to bring no pretense. It is to be honest about what we think before God, even though, and especially when, it shames us to admit it. Perhaps you think, "I have prayed, but it didn't do any good." Or perhaps, "When I pray, there is no answer." Just so. Have you told the Lord that burden of yours? Have you opened to Him your complaint? Have you, like Hannah, poured out your complaint to Him who knows your inmost thought and every need (1 Sam. 1:16)?
Prayer is the highest privilege we have. And we are here, in James 5:13, commanded to pray in our affliction. Christ is the well of Living Water (Jer. 2:13; Isaiah 12:3)! He is glorified when thirsty sinners come to Him for drink! Oh! That we would so obey our wise and gracious Master and call upon Him! This is the promise, "Whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call" (Joel 2:32). If you call on Christ, He promises to save you. He said so to the woman at the well. And He says so in Joel 2:32. He repeats His promise in Romans 10:12-13. Why are those who call saved? First, because they need to be saved. Second, according to Joel, it is because in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there is deliverance. Christ is there. He is the Deliverer (Rom. 11:26-27). Third, it is because the LORD will call His people, "the remnant whom the LORD shall call". If you call, it is because the LORD called you (1 Cor. 1:2). Our confidence, therefore, in calling, is that God has chosen and given His people to Christ, and that Christ has redeemed them, and now lives to save them to the uttermost by His death and endless life (Rom. 5:10; Heb. 7:25). Our confidence is that through the call of God in the Gospel from scripture to needy souls, spoken through His servants, His people hear of Christ. They hear of His accomplishments -- His glorious achievements for sinners -- and they, seeing Him as all in their salvation, call on Him to save them (John 6:37-40; 1 Tim. 1:15; Rom. 7:24-25).
"Is any merry? Let him sing psalms." Whether downcast, afflicted or merry, go to Christ! Take your burden. Cast it upon Him. Do you know that when you cast all your cares on the Lord that you are care-free! Are you glad? Are you happy? Is your heart joyful and at peace? Then sing your song to the Lord. Let it pour forth in abundant praise. It is He who hath made us and it is He who hath saved us, and not we ourselves (Psalm 20:9; 100:3; Gal. 2:20; 6:14). This is the song of grace lifted in praise from the joyful heart who knows salvation is in Christ alone: full, complete, perfect, eternal! "Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works" (1 Chr. 16:9). There is provision in Christ for every mood, every circumstance, for the smallest and the greatest intellect. Let your intellect be satisfied with Christ and Him crucified for sinners to the glory of God!
Lord, hear my need. My prayers often seem to reach no further than my lips. I can’t even formulate in words what I feel and need. It seem that you don’t answer when I call, that God does not hear (Ps. 22:4). I am a sinner. I can’t believe. I hear the Gospel, but it doesn’t penetrate my heart. Hear me, O Lord, for Christ’s sake (Ps. 20:9)! As you have purposed and provided and purchased your people by the blood and obedience of your Son, so receive me in Him! Take away all iniquity! Receive me graciously (Hosea 14:1-4). Take glory to yourself and to your Son in saving this poor, wretched, foul sinner! Show me your glory in His salvation (Ps. 21:5)! Let the bones which you have broken rejoice. Let them rejoice in your salvation (Ps. 51:8; 13:5). Tell me, and then tell me again what Christ is to my soul (Matt. 11:4)!