We heard about Psalm 88 yesterday at a downtown church here in Cleveland, Tennessee. The lady associate pastor said Psalm 88 is a lamenting Psalm, a “Psalm of Lost Causes.” Psalm 88, she said, is about gloom, despair and agony, like the old song from Hee-Haw. The choir sang that Hee-Haw chorus from yesteryear and it sounded good for right now, lifting spirits.
Sometimes it’s not possible to post daily happy notes on Facebook. But yesterday’s message said: “With God in the Pit.” The pastor explained that Psalm 88 shows us we can give honest voice to our pain. The New International Version Bible points out that Psalm 88 is “a maskil (a teaching Psalm) of Heman the Ezrahite.” The NIV notes add that the Psalm “recalls the fact that although godly persons live lives of unremitting trouble (Psalm 73:14), they can still grasp the hope that God is Savior.” The late Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “the prince of preachers,” wrote that Heman the Ezrahite was known for wisdom and “had done business on the great waters of soul trouble.”
The pastor yesterday mentioned Job and Joseph and Hannah and Naomi, who went through bitter times to better times. These people felt terrible soul pain and cried out the sorrow, dealing with things as hurtful as infertility and treachery and death and family troubles.
It’s that lady’s message and not mine, so it’s also yours. She reminded that suffering disorients us. Sometimes we feel out of sorts and out of sync and might misplace those prescription eyeglasses and then forget to wash that pair of slacks and forget how to feel good.
It’s one thing after another sometimes and we have to pray and work and wait for the crooked places to be made straight again, like the Bible says God can make happen.
The pastor’s message was so good and helpful. She said there is “faith even in the complaints” and that those complaints are “best shared in community.”
So there we were together and here we are together. Thank you again for being here.
“When our vision is clouded by tears,” the pastor said, “it’s hard to see the road.”
This morning a funny little thing happened when Ms. Linda and I were trying to get the food out for everybody. Our bottoms brushed up against each other and we laughed a little and thought of that dance “The Bump.” Remember “The Bump?” It’s fun to bump into each other that way, on the up and up and all.
We’re all in this together, bumping right along. Somehow, we’ll make it. Take it easy now. That kind thoughtful man in the crisp lavender shirt advised:)