Have you ever been without hope? Maybe you know someone you know? Today Psalm 88 makes me ask these questions. The writer is clearly without hope. Look at the descriptions of his current circumstances.
- Full of troubles (v3)
- Near Sheol (a dark place where the dead go) v3
- No strength (v4)
- Set loose among the dead (v5)
- Forgotten by God (v5)
- Cut off from God’s hand (v5)
Keep reading the Psalm. There is more. Clearly, the writer is in a place of hopelessness and despair. He blames God. Beginning with verse 6, he says You put me here. You caused my friends to leave. You made me a horror. I can hear the anguish in his voice as he cries out.
The anguish, however, is tempered. In these grimmest of circumstances, there is a spark of hope. It appears in verse 9. Every day, he says, I call upon you. I spread my hands to you. These are not the words and actions of the hopeless. These belong to the faithful.
The Psalmist knows the wonders of God and the praises that he deserves (v10). He believes that God is righteous and worth being known (v11). His words illustrate an understanding of God’s grand design.
There is no knowing why this man was tortured in this way. Why do any of us suffer? Today, I sit, questioning if I will ever have to endure this kind of hardship. I pray fervently that God will spare me, and you, from such troubles. Like the Psalmist, I ask for healing for all who are afflicted. And, like the Psalmist, we have to wait and endure until there are answers.
Father God, while I hold my hands out to you, I pray for faith like this Psalmist. In the midst of the struggle, he called on you. While we can, let us see your wonder so that we can be in complete awe of you. Allow us to experience your righteousness so that we can know your beauty. Lord, please bury your promises deep within our hearts so that we can remember your hope when we most need it. Imprint us with your love that will never leave us.