Psalm: 88
Old Testament: Isaiah 61:1-9
New Testament: 2 Tim 3

O Lord, God of my salvation,
when, at night, I cry out in your presence,
let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry.
For my soul is full of troubles,
and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the Pit;
I am like those who have no help,
like those forsaken among the dead,
like the slain that lie in the grave, (Psalm 88:1-5)

Psalm 88 is what I call the “doom and gloom Psalm”. This poem stands alone in that it refuses to extol God for His wonderful deeds or hold out any hope for God showing up and delivering the Psalmist from his/her oppressor.

Virtually every other Psalm or song in the Bible is decidedly more optimistic about God’s presence and his willingness to intervene on behalf of his faithful ones. Here we get none of that. This is straight out despair.

This brutal emotional honesty is one of the reasons why I still read the Bible with integrity. Just as the letter to Timothy says….all scripture is inspired by God for our learning…not just in terms of the Divine….but in coming to grips with our own humanity.

In the Psalms we have a multitude of voices coming together, united in a common experience of God. Some of those experiences are joyful, some sorrowful, others confusing. The Psalms are a place of honesty and expression. To give voice to the many emotions within the human heart.

If you know me at all, you know that I sometimes have beef with the Psalms. Some are too lofty and “pie in the sky”-ish for me. And yet…I keep reading them…..knowing that life is more than my own experiences and convictions. I read them to open my mind to other points of view, and to hear different expressions of faith.

By the grace of God and the movement of the Spirit, may we all find something in these Scriptures that move and resonate with us…..that open doors to new ways of thinking….all the while being honest to the plethora of emotion that comes with the endeavour.+