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Reading:                                       Psalm 88

A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah. For the director of music. According to mahalath leannoth.  maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.

LORD, you are the God who saves me;
day and night I cry out to you.
May my prayer come before you;
turn your ear to my cry.

I am overwhelmed with troubles
and my life draws near to death.

 I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am like one without strength.
I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care.

You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths.
Your wrath lies heavily on me;
you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.
You have taken from me my closest friends
and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape; my eyes are dim with grief
(NIV).

Reflection

There are 150 psalms in the Book of Psalms and one of the most remarkable things about them is their emotional span. They range from giddy heights of joy and praise to great depths of depression and sorrow. The full array of human emotion and experience is on display. Whatever state you find yourself in, there’s a psalm for that—a psalm for every situation and human need. If you are in desperate straits, there’s a psalm for that. If you are soaring in the presence of God, there’s a psalm for that too. They reflect our need for God and our desire to connect with Him in all of life’s experiences.

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As darkness falls — Petrie Island Park — photo by David Kitz

Psalm 88 is a cry for help from the deepest pit of human need. Hear the psalmist’s cry of anguish: I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draws near to death. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like one without strength. I am confined and cannot escape; my eyes are dim with grief.

For reasons that we are not told, the psalmist feels trapped in the worst of circumstances. At times I think we all have been there—feeling alone with no one to turn to. In such times, there is no one to turn to but the LORD. In our time of despair He does not reject us or turn us away. He is a God who comforts us, even as Paul, the apostle declares, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

If you are in the depths of depression or despair follow the example of Heman, the psalmist. Call out to God. He is listening. He reaches to the lowest pit.

Response: LORD God, I need your comfort. Hear my prayer and answer me. In this time of sorrow show me a sign of your favor. Amen.

Your Turn: Are you currently facing a time of trouble or sorrow? May I pray for you?