Sometimes we go through dark periods in our lives where the misery feels never-ending. Trial hits, pain hits, and just when we think life might get “back to normal,” we are hit by yet another difficulty. At times like these, we may feel forgotten by God.
In Psalm 88, we find one of the most utter prolonged cries of despair: “O Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out by day and though the night before you,” the psalmist begins (Psa 88:1). this psalm never climaxes or hints of hope, and it ends even more desperately than it begins. The psalmist, feeling abandoned by God, has his loved ones taken from hi, he is left to navigate the darkness alone.
How do we deal with our own misery when confronted by a tragic psalm like this? How should we respond to God?
We can start with what the psalmist, despite his prolonged suffering, acknowledges about God. Although his troubles are still present, he also recognizes God as his deliverer (Psa 88:6-9). He appeals to God’s reputation as a God of wonders, deserving of praise (Psa 88:10). He appeals to God’s loyal love, faithfulness, and righteousness (Psa 88:11).
The psalmist never comes to a place where he expresses even a glimmer of hope. But through cries, questions, and torment, he holds on to what he knows to be true about God. In his very cry, the psalmist acknowledges that God will be present in his situation. While the questions in this psalm remain unanswered, we see that the psalmist lives in the awareness that God cares and will eventually act. In the meantime, he places himself in God’s faithfulness.
In this life, we’ll go through dark times and struggles that may never end. We may even feel forgotten. But despite what we think or feel, we can’t abandon what we know to be true of God. Even when our state or our emotions are contrary to the desire to worship Him, we are called to trust in Him and in His love.
If He was willing to abandon His only son on a cross to redeem you, then He is certainly trustworthy. If you trust in Him, He will not forsake you.