Psalms of Lament… for when life hurts.

We’ve heard it said, “God is good all the time. All the time, God is good.”
Is He?
What about when our life experiences collide with our faith in a way that is seemingly contradictory to that declaration?
Disappointment. Disaster. Loss. Pain. Rejection. Suffering. Death.
What happens then? How do we process through those things, when it seems our faith in God & belief in Him is confronted with the tough stuff?
For thousands of years, God’s people have been using the book of Psalms as a ‘songbook’ for life – meaning, they actually sang & declared the Psalms in both obedience to God, and as a way of working through life circumstances beyond their understanding.
The book of Psalms in the Bible is made up of 150 chapters written by King David, Solomon, a poet named Asaph, & a musical group called, “The Sons of Korah.” In bible days, Psalms was a was 5 songbooks included in one volume. Here are some examples of the themes of the Psalms:

  • Psalms of Thanksgiving – acknowledging God’s character, goodness, & provision
  • Psalms of Lament – 68 Psalms dedicated to crying out to God in times of great suffering, loss, abandonment & death
  • Psalms of Ascent 120-134 (to be sung as Jewish pilgrims returned to Jerusalem during the 3 main annual feasts)
  • Psalms for public worship (tied to specific festivals & celebrations)
  • Psalms for celebrating wisdom/God’s law

The Psalms of Lament provided an avenue for processing through “life’s DOWNs” – the language in them is often negative, questioning God, wondering where He is & why He’s (seemingly) not acting on the behalf of His people.
Personally, I have found that praying the Psalms has been very helpful to me in working through life’s junk –  & they have been a springboard to prayer: real, honest, yelling at the heavens prayer. And the great thing is, God can take anything we dish out - & still be RIGHT there with us, supporting, sustaining, & carrying us through the “valley of the shadow of death” to the other side. 

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