You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed; all my enemies are before you. (Ps. 69:19)
They were dark days for someone I knew well. Death had claimed a loved one at the same time that conflict was within the family, and a wounded soul cried out to a silent God. Details differ, of course, but every believer goes through “seasons of distress and grief,” as William Walford put it in his classic hymn “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” In the Old Testament, psalms of lament express that pain.
Eugene Peterson said that the Bible speaks to us but the Psalms also speak for us.
It’s true throughout that hymnbook of ancient Israel, but it’s especially true of the psalms of lament. As the name suggests, they’re worship songs in which God’s people look to him in times of trouble. Israel sings the blues in its psalms of lament. “Where are you, God?” they ask. “Why haven’t you answered my cries for help?”
Psalm 69 is a psalm of lament. David’s enemies seem to be winning, and he feels helpless. But, as in other psalms of lament, faith shines through the darkness, and the psalm ends with declarations of hope and trust in God. New Testament writers see the sufferings of Christ prophesied in David’s words.
You and I may see our pain here too, but remember the way these psalms invariably end. Our psalm isn’t over until it ends in trust and hope.
To move from trauma to trust, look up.
—Bob Black is professor emeritus of religion at Southern Wesleyan University, where he served for thirty-two years. He co-authored the denominational history, The Story of The Wesleyan Church.
© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.