Thursday, July 05, 2007

Psalm 88 and Depression III

Imagine ending a conversation with a friend the way the Psalmist ends his conversation with the Lord: You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend. Would you let it happen? Or would you hang on until they at least paid lip service to some sort of hope?

A few thoughts about Christians going through dark times

1. Christian living is not like sitcoms - life is not wrapped up nice and neat. The psalmist ends with a messed up life that still hurts. The loneliness is palatable. The darkness is thick. The big questions of life have not been answered, the mysteries of life have not been settled. Yes, Christianity is messy. And that is OK because as you read throughout the Psalm because the psalmist is having a dialogue with God. Life may be messy and will be messy. That is part of living by faith in the sovereign ways of God.
2. We do not need to defend God. It is OK for people to walk away disillusioned with God without us trying to defend God until our throats are parched. We can let people walk away disappointed with God. God is able to defend Himself and provide for those who are disillusioned. We simply seek to speak - God will act.
3. There is a place for sullen times in the Christian life. If not, God would have solved the problem right there and then. He chose not to and in so doing, he affirmed that part of the path of a believer at times will be the shadow of the valley of death. In other words, do not always try to cheer people up or get them to praise God. Walk with them through the valley - weep with those who weep.
4. Balance, balance, balance. The majority of the psalms which deal with a trial or dark moments end with praise. The one walking through darkness must plead for faith so that as they walk out of the darkness, they do so with increased faith and praise on their lips and in their hearts.
5. I am sure Psalm 88 is not the last word as God cares intimately for His people. Genesis to Revelation tells the story of God's abundant grace overflowing into the life of the believer through Jesus. Psalm 88 is part of the story but not the complete story. That is the hope for all believers. We still have Psalms 89-150 to read and we know how it ends

Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!
(Psa 150:1-6)

That is the place God faithfully brings His people because of His abounding love and mercy.

1 comment:

Janice Van Eck said...

David - are you every going to blog again??