Psalm 88 & Suffering

Out of the whole year, summer is when I get to spend the most time with my husband. That means instead of writing posts in the evenings I’ve been spending time with my hunny-bun. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had things that I’ve been wanting to write about though! Today I want to tell you guys just a bit about a book I just finished reading. OMG (and I don’t use that often) it was amazing! Suffering and the Sovereignty of God is the name of it (Piper & Taylor). Basically it answers these questions: Is God really in control when bad things happen? Is God still good and perfect when those things happen? To put it simply: Yes & Yes.

But not only is God in control and good and perfect he is there in the pain and suffering. Up until recently the biggest pain that I’ve had in my life had been the death of my grandpa in high school and a bad break-up a few years ago. You may be able to relate. It was God’s word-specifically the Psalms-that kept my head above water. I couldn’t get enough of them. They described exactly what I was feeling.

David Powlison discusses suffering, psalms, and God in a chapter entitled “Waiting for the Morning.” He uses Psalm 88 to talk about the depth of pain. In the psalm, one can see the writer is so full of troubles he feels near his death. His eyes even grow dim through sorrow. In his sorrows and pain he feels helpless. This chapter is pretty depressing b/c it doesn’t end with a “Yet you are the God of my salvation.” Nope, no joyful triumph here. It ends with the author describing how God has caused his friends not to just leave him but shun him-they are as darkness to him. Powlison goes on to say what is remarkable about this Psalm is that it seems right-on with pain. Are these not the things that grief and pain do to us? They are. But why is something so depressing in the bible? Well, in short it’s so that when we doubt that God is listening, we will see “that what we are feeling is normal.”

Let me leave with you with this excerpt from the chapter:

"God cares about us in the midst of pain. His goal isn’t just to get us out of the pain to joy; he also wants us to see that he is for us and with us in the pain. It is true that weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Ps. 30:5). The morning will dawn and God will remove every tear (Rev. 21:4), but God is not just concerned about the morning, the new day when you can shout for joy. He is with us even in the night when there is nothing but weeping, when the tears are so think that we can’t see. When we are in the deepest pit and darkness weighs on our souls and God feels so absent that we wonder if he is even real, this psalm reminds us that he is with us even then."

1 comment:

  1. Great book review. I'll have to add it to my Amazon list if it's not there already.