May 1, 2017
The inscription above this psalm describes it as a “prayer of the afflicted.” Certainly, there is a need for concrete language to truly capture the condition of the afflicted. The hurting are in need of words of expression that they might lift up to the Lord a prayer that can only be called a “cry.” For they often feel as an infant, able only to cry out, but not to explain why.
When we describe our physical state, a whole vocabulary is available, but to describe our internal condition–– the state of our souls–– we grasp at metaphors to illustrate our feeling. In this, the psalmist gives aid. He says that his “days are consumed like smoke,” his “heart is stricken and withered,” and his appetite is forgotten.
Why pray such words? Why not just deny our inner turmoil and focus on God?
Why? Because our depression and discouragement are as real as physical pain. Denial does not bring healing. Admit your feeling to the Lord. Pray the psalms. Make them your own. There are 150 of them. There is one that will help you describe your heart condition today. Let the words of the psalms give meaning to your soul’s cry. And know that the One who cried out in Gethsemane, and drank from the bitter cup at Golgotha, will certainly hear and understand.