that Psalm 88 is unique because it doesn't end redemptively? All other psalms talk about God’s rescue. This one - “I am in darkness,” the end. Drop the mic! (tip: read Psalm 88)
I am pretty captivated by this. Mostly because, to me, it begs the question: “Why is this so?”
Our pastor recently gave a message about mental health and used this passage. He mentioned this, and my mind just kept thinking, “Why so sad? What is the significance?”
Upon further reflection and prayer, here is where I have landed. Once again, I stand in awe of how God continually has purpose and intent throughout Scripture. The writer of this Psalm is a man named Heman. It is understood that he was a wise man, choir director, musician, and songwriter. This Psalm or Song would have been sung by choirs over people in a group setting. He writes very specifically about his woes. He suffers from close friends being against him; he doesn’t feel known; he is desperate, trapped, alone, wants to die, overwhelmed, and more.
As Heman begins, he writes of who he is. He clearly believes that there is a God, has faith that God hears him, and that he can cry out to Him about what is going on in his heart. He then pauses to reflect (Selah) and pours out his heartfelt desperation, including even blaming God for several stanzas.
Friends, there are times in our lives that we need to know we are not alone as we wrestle through life. Our hearts and minds can be overwhelmed by so many things that plague our souls. It is not always just about different events in our lives that are hard or challenging. It can run deep and to the innermost parts of our hearts.
This passage, though not upbeat and redemptive, gives us an example of how real and true these things are. It also normalizes the struggle through it. My mom often said, “Honesty is the best policy.” We see that Heman was honest. Abundantly honest.
Am I that honest? Are you that honest?
Heman really did put it all out there. To God, to his community, and even to himself. I don’t know about you, but when I say something out loud it makes it more real. It also helps me to actually hear it and identify what to do with it whether it’s my thoughts or an idea, a truth or a lie.
This passage once again shows us how God knows us. He knew Haman. He knows you. One of the reasons this chapter is in Psalms is because He knew we would need it. You are not alone, and it is OK. You are loved.
“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 (ESV)
Erin Nonaka is a Co-Founder and the Director of Communications and Community at Humble Faith Ministries. She is an experienced worship leader, Bible teacher, and encourager of women. She currently lives in Florida with her husband and two of her three sons.