“Answer me when I call, God, who vindicates me. You freed me from affliction; be gracious to me and hear my prayer.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Have you ever laid down for bed at night with a heart that was full, but what it was full of was not love and good feelings? How often has that anger and frustration over some unfairness or injustice or even simply inconvenience you’ve been dealt been directed at least partially at God? I suspect if you’ve lived very long this has happened a time or twenty. As the culture around us continues to shift away from anything recognizably Christian or even remotely God-honoring, if you’re someone who seeks to make following Jesus something that is a consistent feature of your life, I’m certain you have. What do we do in a time like this?
Well, there are worse places to start than the Scriptures to express what is going on in our heart and mind. Even still, knowing where to start when it comes to the Scriptures is something with which many believers struggle. Nonbelievers who nonetheless have turned to the Scriptures because, why not, are even less equipped to use them well.
Generally speaking, whenever we have some emotion inside of us that we need help expressing, the Psalms are a good place to turn. The Psalms offer us a rich collection of prayers for a whole variety of situations. And while many of them are prayers praising God for one thing or another, many of them are not. Many of them are raw, emotional pleas and cries from out of heart-wrenching situations in which we can find the solace of familiarity in our own inner turmoils. The Psalms of David in particular are helpful because he tends to not hold back anything going on in his heart from God. He consistently takes whatever it is he is feeling, drops it right at God’s feet, and wrestles with it there until he’s content with what he’s found.
Getting even more specific, the other morning I was reading through some Psalms and this one that I have read many times before grabbed my attention in a way that it had not on any previous reading. And as I read it over and over again, it became clear that this is a perfect Psalm for those very times when we lie down to sleep with disquiet in our souls. Over the next few notes if you would like to journey with me a bit, I would like to walk you through why I think it is and what it says to help us process our turmoil.