You may have picked up by now, that I am a people-pleaser. I want desperately to be liked and fear disappointing or upsetting people. For this reason, I tend to overlook offense. I hide it deep within myself and tend to assume that I am the problem. I fear confronting people and having them think lesser of me or worse, upsetting them.
God doesn’t mind when I’m upset with Him. In fact, He has set a precedent in Scripture for me to pour out the whole slew of emotions I feel before Him.
The Psalms, over and over again they express the heart of someone who is confused and upset with how God has allowed their lives to unfold. There’s a lot of asking God, “Hey! I’m a good person. Why is this happening to me?”
Often, we all ask that. It might be because our lives have taken an unexpected, un-welcomed turn. That job we loved was ripped from our hands. The spouse we’ve dreamed about isn’t appearing. Our children aren’t what we expected or simply are never arriving in our arms. Or maybe it’s what we see around us as we journey with a friend who was in an accident or who had that spouse that hurt them.
We don’t have to look far. Saints all around us are walking difficult roads fraught with pain.
King David and the other psalmists poured their hearts out before the Lord again and again. Their precedent shows us that we can be honest with God about our hurt and confusion while still finding ultimate hope in Him.
There is no place for Christian-ese niceties in the psalms. They are raw and they are real. Psalm 88 ends with a simple statement that darkness is the only companion the psalmist has. If that doesn’t show our ability to be honest with God, I don’t know what will.
Because of who God is, we can cry out before Him. Because of the psalms, we know our experience is not unique. Even David, a man after God’s own heart, experienced deep disappointment and hurt. David’s pain validates our pain. It shows us that we are not alone or lesser than other believers because we experience trials or doubt if God sees us.
While the psalms show expressions of deep pain, they do not leave us without hope for our condition. The endings often speak truth into our hearts and remind us of what is real even when we don’t feel like it’s real.
I think the first Bible verse I memorized as a child was the end of Pslam 23: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
My mother prayed these words over me while changing my diapers and teaching me how to walk. They are woven deeply into the fabric of my thinking and force their way to the top at the most inconvenient times. But when life is hard, when it feels unbearable, the final words of this psalm reminds me that God has the final word.
These words have pursued me through dark corridors. They have been my battle cry in the face of the Enemy when I feel pressed from every side. When I felt defeated and needed to remember the promise I have, these words have escaped my lips. On the mountaintop, when I survey His faithfulness, this has been the declaration I have hidden in my heart.
No matter what I feel like is happening, no matter what valley I am walking through, His goodness and mercy pursue me and I am not abandoned. Every twist and turn in the path I am walking will be transformed into a glorifying part of my journey. And at the end of my days, by His grace, I will dwell in His house forever.
If your journey is currently beautiful hide these words in your heart. When your life feels overwhelming, when you’re walking through the valley and question whether your journey matters to the Father, read the psalms and recall the words you’ve hidden in your heart. Dwell upon the raw emotions of those who have walked this earth before you and remember that even in their pain, they found hope in the Living God.
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