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  • Writer's pictureNathan Buckman


When you read Psalm 88 in your Bible, it might hit you right in the heart, especially if you're on a journey of recovery from trauma, betrayal, emotional distress or addiction. This psalm is different from others like Psalm 13 or 42. It doesn't offer a glimmer of hope at the end.

Heman, the author, pours out his soul, saying things like, "I am a man who has no strength" and "I suffer your terrors." Unlike other psalms, he concludes with, "You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness." That's it; there's no resolution. It's the only psalm without hope on the surface.

But don't dismiss it just yet. Here's why you should be thankful for Psalm 88:

First, it shows that we can trust God's Word. This psalm is brutally honest about life, revealing that Scripture doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of our fallen world. It tells us that God's Word can be raw, which means it relates to our struggles.

When you feel like others in the Christian community seem too put-together, remember that God's Word is not. It openly acknowledges our weaknesses, sins, needs, and suffering. This is comforting when your soul is in turmoil, and you think no one understands. Psalm 88 reminds you that God knows your questions and doesn't leave you to suffer alone.

Second, Psalm 88 teaches us where to take our grief, even when it lingers. Heman keeps crying out to God despite not receiving what he desires. He knows God is the one he needs and refuses to seek relief elsewhere. Crying out to God, even in ongoing suffering, is an act of faith.

Finally, this psalm points us to the Gospel. Jesus also experienced deep soul anguish when praying to His Father, but His suffering fulfilled the purpose of absorbing God's wrath for our sins. Remember that your anguish, no matter how painful, is small compared to what Christ endured for us. This perspective can give you hope and lead you to praise your Savior.

So, even though Psalm 88 might seem depressing, it's there to remind you that God is in control, and there is hope, even in the darkest times. Your suffering is temporary, and the God of all grace will restore and establish you.

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