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Thought for the Day by Matt Jones (Associate Minister for Music)
I encourage you to read the Psalm a number of times. Each time, try to read it slower than the first. Then continue below:
Normally we turn to the Psalms to find something uplifting, when we want to remind ourselves of the goodness of the Lord and the things that He has done.
And so we can read a Psalm like 88 and think ‘well that has left me feeling a little depressed’. And the truth is….mostly yes! Because the Psalms are filled with the range of human emotions and experiences of life. Not all life is high praise on top of a mountain. Sometimes we walk through a valley of despair where life feels like a flaming trash heap.
I don’t know what Heman the Ezrahite, the writer of this Psalm, was experiencing at the time. But the strong emotive language of ‘being overwhelmed’ (v.3), grief (v.9), doubt (~v10-12), despair (v.14) are real, they are not invalid and things to hide away or suppress.
Maybe this is something you are wrestling with right now. Maybe you’ve never experienced any of this and question how that can be the response of others. Regardless, I would like us to ponder a couple of things, some of which can be turned into personal prayer:
To finish, there is hope. Heman starts this psalm with a declaration of truth that doesn’t change according to human emotion: ‘Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you’.
Rest in the knowledge of that today
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