Reading the Word
Psalm 88:1–9 (ESV)
1 O Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out day and night before you. 2 Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! 3 For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. 4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength, 5 like one set loose among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand. 6 You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep. 7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah 8 You have caused my companions to shun me; you have made me a horror to them. I am shut in so that I cannot escape; 9 my eye grows dim through sorrow. Every day I call upon you, O Lord; I spread out my hands to you.
Understanding and Applying the Word
These verses record the words of one who is in great despair. As he calls out, he tells God that his soul is full of troubles, he has no strength, he feels cut off from God, and he is sorrowful. As we read the words it is easy to get a sense of the writer’s pain.
Sometimes we may feel like if we share some of the same feelings and emotions that this psalmist writes about, that there is something wrong with us. After all, Christians should never feel that way. We should always be happy. It does not matter what circumstances you are facing.
If you have ever felt guilty for feeling sorrowful or troubled, this psalm may be a great encouragement to you. These verses teach us that such feelings are normal for the people of God and that we can go to God and tell him how we feel. We can cast our burdens on the Lord because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
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