Day 4: March 4, 2017, Saturday. We will be Rescued.
Delivery from Depression Adapted from Psalms 5, 6, 13. Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my groaning. Be gracious to me, Oh Lord, for I am pining away; heal me, O Lord, for my soul is greatly dismayed. I am weary with my sighing; every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears, my eye has wasted away with grief. How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long will I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will the enemy exalt over me? Please consider and answer me, O Lord, my God. Return, O Lord, rescue my soul and save me because of Your loving kindness. Enlighten my eyes unless I sleep the sleep of death, until my enemy rejoices when I am shaken. But I trust in Your loving kindness. In the morning I will pray to You and eagerly watch. In the morning You will hear my voice. My heart rejoices in Your salvation. I sing to You Lord, because You always deal with me bountifully. Amen.
God has placed people in my life who “always deal with me bountifully,” and I am eternally thankful. However, depression is one defense mechanism that can disorient me and make me unable to receive the comfort of others in times of tragic loss. Psalms of lament teach that it is all right to bring our losses to God. Lamenting does not mean we are losing faith; rather it means our faith is deep enough to speak honestly about loss understanding that God will listen. As we have seen, Jesus laments in Gethsemane.
When I read psalms of lament, I think of my professor, Dr. Denise Hopkins. In her book, Journey Through the Psalms (© 2002, p. 77) she quotes Roland Murphy asking, “have we lost the art of complaining in faith to God in favor of a stoic concept of what obedience or resignation to the divine will really means?” Hopkins points out how “one third of the 150 psalms in the Psalter are laments that articulate the experience of disorientation in the life of an individual or in the corporate life of the community of Israel.” (p. 80.) Can you identify in this prayer an Address of a Grievance, a Complaint, a Petition, a Motivation, a Confession of Trust in God, and a Vow of Praise? (p. 82) Hopkins wants us to see that the psalmist complains in earnest and “seeks a change.” She speaks to the issue of the how our culture accepts when movie stars or ordinary people reveal “the most intimate details of their lives with millions of people on TV,” but are not quite as understanding when the psalmist tells God exactly what is on the psalmist’s mind. (p. 82.) Do we understand that because we are known fully, we can articulate our disorienting thoughts to God without censure, and we can expect that God will hear us and rescue us?