88:1 LORD, you are the God who saves me;
day and night I cry out to you.
2 May my prayer come before you;
turn your ear to my cry.
3 I am overwhelmed with troubles
and my life draws near to death.
4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am like one without strength.
5 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.
6 You have put me in the lowest pit,
in the darkest depths.
7 Your wrath lies heavily on me;
you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.
8 You have taken from me my closest friends
and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape;
9 my eyes are dim with grief.
I call to you, LORD, every day;
I spread out my hands to you.
10 Do you show your wonders to the dead?
Do their spirits rise up and praise you?
11 Is your love declared in the grave,
your faithfulness in Destruction?
12 Are your wonders known in the place of darkness,
or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?
13 But I cry to you for help, LORD;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 Why, LORD, do you reject me
and hide your face from me?
15 From my youth I have suffered and been close to death;
I have borne your terrors and am in despair.
16 Your wrath has swept over me;
your terrors have destroyed me.
17 All day long they surround me like a flood;
they have completely engulfed me.
18 You have taken from me friend and neighbor—
darkness is my closest friend.
(So the ESV website is down this morning so I copied from the TNIV, but I am still reading my ESV) There are only a hand full of times in my life that I have truly cried out to the Lord. The were important moments for me, the last of which was when we were moving out of our home in Oakland, CA. Most of the time I just sort of smile and wink at God. Crying out takes time, emotion, and soul often these are lacking in how I relate to God on a daily basis.There is a biblical understanding that God brings us through hard times. Last night while reading in preparation for the Communicants class that I will teach the children of Grace Seattle, I started to wonder how to talk about this with kids. To me it seems like something of the human experience and I am wondering if children will be able to name the fallen state of the world around them, and if they can believe in a God who is more powerful even when their hopes are disappointed in the short term.
This prayer reminds me more than any other of my prayers the night our house partner screamed at me and told me one of us had to move out. I was sad broken hearted and was left wondering why God would put us through this. My faith was not shattered, I still believed, I just did not like the actions of a holy God, who seems to "cause my companions to shun me".
So even in our pain we go to God. A very Godly mad asked me a simple question, "Name one person who's spirituality you respect that has time with God at night?" You start your morning with God, you might have a time for evening prayers and chat with God, but the morning is where it all springs from. We are forced to face our lack and fear as we go into another day where we are forced to have faith.
This Psalm is also challenging to most of us because it has no resolution. What do you do with that? For me it seems to fit with life. Sometimes there are questions that don't get wrapped up in twenty lines or even on hundred lines. Why do friends lose babies? That is one question I look forward to having God satisfy after death, because right now I cannot see it. Each one of us come with our own set of unanswerables, if you don't have them you are in denial.