Have you ever had a day when you simply needed chocolate?
Maybe you faced some problems, and needed a pick-me-up. Or you were dealing with a heartbreak and needed a balm for your ragged emotions.
And you knew that milk chocolate just wouldn’t cut it, let alone white chocolate.
It required the stronger stuff. You needed to bring out the big guns to help you cope with your challenges:
Only the intense flavour and strength of chocolate with over 80% cocoa solids would do the trick. Nothing else would suffice.
Sometimes we reach a similar point in our spiritual lives, too.
The Christian life isn’t all a bed of roses. Oftentimes we face desperate circumstances, and we may find ourselves in a heap on the floor, crying our eyes out.
Maybe we’ve received a scary diagnosis from the doctor. We might have been let go from our job. Or our family might be in crisis: our marriage is in tatters or our children have gone astray.
We need help that is grounded in the gritty reality of what we’re facing. Sunny bromides like “Don’t worry, be happy” just won’t cut it.
We need to bring out the big guns.
We need the Psalms.
David and the other authors of the Psalms didn’t pull any punches. They laid out their anguish plainly before God, without sugar-coating their emotions. Their raw honesty reflected the desperate circumstances they were facing. They railed, they pleaded, they banged on the doors of Heaven.
Surprisingly, God was OK with all of it.
Listen to some of their pleas:
“Why have you forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?” (Psalm 42:9)
“I am sick at heart. How long, Lord, until you restore me?” (Psalm 6:3)
“Oh, Lord, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I am in trouble?” (Psalm 10:1)
“I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping.” (Psalm 6:6)
“Please, Lord, rescue me! Come quickly, Lord, and help me!” (Psalm 40:13)
Clearly, we’re not the first to have experienced emotions like these. That’s why the Psalms can be such a comfort to us. We know that, like David, we can pour out all the anguish in our heart to God.
He can take it. He understands. He hears.
And He will answer you.
Invariably, these Psalms of anguish end on a note of faith.
Look how Psalm 6 ends, which we quoted above:
“The Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my plea: the Lord will answer my prayer.”
Here’s how Psalm 42 finishes up:
“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God!”
And how about the conclusion to Psalm 10:
“Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.”
When you need industrial-strength help during desperate times, turn to the Psalms. You’ll find kindred spirits who model for us that despair and frustration can coexist with faith and conviction. The Psalmists show us that God is OK with being on the receiving end of our raw emotions, and that He will lovingly ensure that you’re on the receiving end of His compassion and kindness.
Allow the Psalmists to come alongside you in your grief or confusion and shepherd you to a place of firm conviction that God is on your side and will see you through whatever challenges you face.
When milk chocolate just won’t do, turn to dark chocolate.
And when trite platitudes just won’t do, turn to the Psalms!
© 2021 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.