Psalm 88 – An Absent God?

Psalm 88

A Korah Prayer of Heman

1-9 God, you’re my last chance of the day. I spend the night on my knees before you.
Put me on your salvation agenda;
take notes on the trouble I’m in.
I’ve had my fill of trouble;
I’m camped on the edge of hell.
I’m written off as a lost cause,
one more statistic, a hopeless case.
Abandoned as already dead,
one more body in a stack of corpses,
And not so much as a gravestone—
I’m a black hole in oblivion.
You’ve dropped me into a bottomless pit,
sunk me in a pitch-black abyss.
I’m battered senseless by your rage,
relentlessly pounded by your waves of anger.
You turned my friends against me,
made me horrible to them.
I’m caught in a maze and can’t find my way out,
blinded by tears of pain and frustration.

9-12 I call to you, God; all day I call.
I wring my hands, I plead for help.
Are the dead a live audience for your miracles?
Do ghosts ever join the choirs that praise you?
Does your love make any difference in a graveyard?
Is your faithful presence noticed in the corridors of hell?
Are your marvelous wonders ever seen in the dark,
your righteous ways noticed in the Land of No Memory?

13-18 I’m standing my ground, God, shouting for help,
at my prayers every morning, on my knees each daybreak.
Why, God, do you turn a deaf ear?
Why do you make yourself scarce?
For as long as I remember I’ve been hurting;
I’ve taken the worst you can hand out, and I’ve had it.
Your wildfire anger has blazed through my life;
I’m bleeding, black-and-blue.
You’ve attacked me fiercely from every side,
raining down blows till I’m nearly dead.
You made lover and neighbor alike dump me;
the only friend I have left is Darkness.

There are several Psalms that start with cries for help or are criticizing God for not being there or for not helping. This is the only Psalm though that ends in the same despair. In most of the Psalms that start out in a sad tone they end in a rescue, but not this one. This one instead shows us what it is like to talk to God when we cannot feel His presence; when He does not answer or intervene. Most of us today would probably never in our life imagine talking to God in such a way. The truth of the matter is there are moments in our life when we feel like this, but in ‘our good faith’ we say nothing. If we do not share every aspect of our life, every aspect of our emotions and especially our pain and anger as well as our joy and pleasure than we are leaving God out of our life. That isn’t what being a Christian is all about. That isn’t what worship is about. When you are feeling like God isn’t there answering your cry for help it is more worshipful to cry out like this, to even yell at God to act as though condemned or hated like this, however you really feel, than it is to worship in a happy joyful way. Those joyful songs remind us of a happier time for us though. And perhaps it is good for us to sing those songs to lift our spirits. But if that is not your state then do not worship in that manner. But do not neglect the sorrow, do not hide it or cast it aside, be authentic with it to those close to you, and especially to God! Even if you can’t feel him, He hears you, and His heart breaks for you! There is a Metal band out now that has Jewish roots. They have a song called darkness that reminds me of this Psalm.:

Don’t turn away, I pray you’ve heard
The words I’ve spoken, Dare to believe
Over one last time, Then I’ll let the

Darkness cover me, Deny everything
Slowly walk away, To breathe again
On my own

Carry me away, I need your strength
To get me through this, Dare to believe
Over one last time, Then I’ll let the

Darkness cover me, Deny everything
Slowly walk away, To breathe again
On my own

This song is a modern day version of the Psalm above. How will you worship when you feel beaten and down-trodden and abandoned by God? Honestly and in despair? Or fake and full of joy?


One thought on “Psalm 88 – An Absent God?

  1. steph says:

    Wow, what a great perspective. Thanks!

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