In the Darkness
Father, give me the ability to be honest about the hurts I am feeling and the compassion to care about others’ pain.
Read Psalm 88:1-18
 A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah. For the director of music. According to mahalath leannoth. A maskil of Heman the Ezrahite. 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.  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.  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 have taken from me my closest friends and have made me repulsive to them. I am confined and cannot escape;  my eyes are dim with grief. I call to you, LORD, every day; I spread out my hands to you.  Do you show your wonders to the dead? Do their spirits rise up and praise you?  Is your love declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Destruction?  Are your wonders known in the place of darkness, or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?  But I cry to you for help, LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you.  Why, LORD, do you reject me and hide your face from me?  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. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat is Heman feeling about his circumstances and about God?
Heman affirms that God “saves” (1), but after that the psalm is structured around three unanswered cries (1,9,13). It is the sheer scope of Heman’s anguish that is so disturbing. To experience the pain described in any one of the verses between 3 and 9 would be tough enough, let alone to go through it all cumulatively. The sense of hopelessness is deepened by the writer’s apparent belief that there is no heaven waiting. Nevertheless, the psalmist prays on in anguished faithfulness. He knows there is nowhere else to go, even if he concludes, oh so poignantly, “Darkness is my closest friend” (18). As followers of the resurrected Jesus, we want to say, “Yes, but…” And the Bible does–immediately–in Psalm 89. But it is important not to move on too quickly to the hope provided by the life to come, particularly if we are not in great emotional darkness ourselves right now. More of our brothers and sisters are than might admit it.
Are you in anguish? Reach out to someone for help. Feeling okay today? Brighten someone else’s darkness.
Father, I thank You for the hope that exists even in our deepest anguish and darkest days.
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