“I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength, 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. You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep. Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves.”Psalms 88:4-7 ESV
The psalmist here is definitely not pulling any stops. He’s not beating around the bush, this is hard core dramatics! It’s not even, “kill me now.” It’s, “Dead. I’m already dead.”
And according to the intro, the psalmist’s name here is Heman. I love it, because it’s so ironic. You would think someone named like the cartoon hero “He-Man” would have a bit more backbone.
At first I was like, way to lose faith, Heman. Where’s your hope? Where’s your trust in the Lord?
It doesn’t help that there’s no redemption moment; at the end of it he’s still where he is when he started praying: down in the dumps.
Can you just hear the soundtrack, “Hello darkness, my old friend…”?
But still, I love that this chapter exists. Because it tells us that, sometimes, it is ok to wallow. Sometimes, there is no recourse but to despair.
Not permanently of course. Not like, for your entire life. Not even for an extended season. But for just around 18 verses? It’s acceptable.
There’s this tired old argument people say that I don’t like, “Well, we’re only human.” Being human is not an excuse! We are emotional precisely because we are human beings created in the likeness of God. And God, as is shown in His Word right here, is a beautifully, exquisitely, emotional God.
I like that word — “exquisite”. It perfectly describes Him, and His works. Even His lamentations are beautiful.
So go ahead — emote, express, exhort! God created you to be exactly who you are!
Just remember to always keep God in the equation. Don’t forget from whence these “feelings” came.
And never ever lose sight of where your help comes from.
Like I said, Heman doesn’t exactly recover at the end of this psalm. It doesn’t matter. He didn’t need to. Sometimes in our lives, this psalm is exactly what we need to hear.
Intentional sorrow anyone? Click here to find out how you can be purposeful even in your grief.