Popular music has a way of being brutally honest about emotions.
Heartache. Pain. Loneliness. Regret. Loss.
And if there’s any criticism of Christian music that seems reasonably fair it’s that we don’t deal with some of these “darker emotions.” Don’t get me wrong: I understand why and I agree with “why” (We have hope in Jesus and…depression doesn’t sell Christian music.). Yet, Scripture certainly addresses these emotions because it is part of our humanity. We find person after person, passage after passage, and psalm after psalm expressing the same emotions.
After all, not all of our stories have a happy ending.
Sometimes we hurt.
Sometimes we cry.
Sometimes we lose.
Sometimes we feel hopeless.
Life is hard and it’s certainly not a fairy tale.
And the psalm we’re studying today and in two weeks deals with these emotions we wish we didn’t feel. Psalm 88:3-4 reads
I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draws near to death. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like one without strength.
And the inspired author, Heman the Ezrahite (the title of this Psalm informs us of this), places this despair at the sovereign feet of God Almighty (Psalm 88:6-7): “You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths. Your wrath lies heavily on me; you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.”
You really should read this Psalm in its entirely to understand the depth of sadness and misery this writer feels. Yet, he calls out to God.
He starts this psalm (verses 1-2), “Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry.” And writes (9b), “I call to you, Lord, every day; I spread out my hands to you.”
His prayer life didn’t stop when things were rotten and God didn’t make sense to Him.
Read this slowly, my brothers and sisters: our lack of understanding doesn’t make God bad; it makes us ignorant.
I didn’t write, “It makes us stupid.” I wrote, “It makes us ignorant.” We are “without knowledge.”
Oh beloved of the Lord Jesus, your despair doesn’t mean God has abandoned you—no matter how badly it hurts. It does mean, however, He’s creating opportunities driving you to cry out to Him with arms spread open wide.
So cry out to Him. Call to Him. Pray. Tell Him how it hurts…tell Him over and over. He cares. He’s listening. And He’s waiting.