Nancy suggested the word “desperation” for today. It’s an honest word.
“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.”
There is a feeling of desperation in Psalm 88. The poet-lamenter tells God (and us) about a persistent and passionate appealing to God. Over and over, day and night.
“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.
I am set apart with the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more,
who are cut off from your care.”
This isn’t an intellectual prayer, a calm reflection on a difficult situation. This is an emergency room request by a woman waiting on news of a child. This is a nursing home lament by the bed of your sixty-year partner in health and now sickness. These are the words in the mind of a person on a ventilator.
Let me jump ahead a little in the song.
“From my youth I have suffered and been close to death;
I have borne your terrors and am in despair.
Your wrath has swept over me;
your terrors have destroyed me.
All day long they surround me like a flood;
they have completely engulfed me.
You have taken from me friend and neighbor—
darkness is my closest friend.”
As you read these last words, your heart breaks for this person. And then you wait for me to finish the psalm. To get to the part where the poet-lamenter says, “But God, thanks for making everything turn out okay. I’m all better now.”
This song ends as the loved one dies. As the vent is withdrawn. As the injustice is unresolved.
It’s a tough word for the middle of the week, isn’t it? Some of you stop by here for a boost of encouragement. This isn’t the day. But some of you are in the middle of crying day and night and you are feeling guilty about feeling upset. You are concerned that God may be concerned that you are concerned.
Be at peace about that. Cry this song. Know that you aren’t the first to feel desperate. Know that you aren’t alone in the grief.