Of all scripture, the Psalms include some of the most deeply personal verses about what it means to be human. We suffer. We fear. We regret. We hope. We love. We call out for help in times of need. Reading the Psalms can be a source of comfort in our suffering as hear our own voices coming through the pages. We also hear voices of awe and joy at the goodness of God. We often see these verses right next to each other, a powerful juxtaposition of emotion and expression.
However, it isn’t easy to face the difficulties in life and still find the power to praise God and trust in His promises. Here are a few things we can learn from the Psalms about praising God through pain and staying close to Him.
Offering Honest Hearts
The Psalms teach us to offer up our honest hearts to the Lord. When we are true and vulnerable as we pray and seek Him, we will forge a deeper connection. We will keep our hearts softened and open to the spirit’s influence. Don’t ever stop talking to the Lord about you really feel. He wants to know what is in your heart.
I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. – Psalm 69:2-3
But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O Lord, make no tarrying. – Psalm 70:5
I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. – Psalm 6:6
Refusing to Depart from Christ
Just like Adam and Eve, we often want to hide in shame. We may feel angry at God or scared of Him. We may feel so small and worthless that we don’t dare approach. Even though the psalmists described painful struggles, they were adamant about staying close to Christ. They longed to be near Him and depart from His side.
Resist the natural inclination you have to turn some other way when times get hard. Seek the Lord and stay close to Him.
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: – Psalm 61:2
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; – Psalm 63:1
Asking for the Power to Change
The Psalms are full of imperfect people who are so aware of their sinful natures. At times, they are almost overwhelmed by their mistakes and transgressions. However, they persist and ask God for the power to change. They have a strong desire to repent—to have new hearts and to be led by the Lord. They want to do the right thing and that is a great starting place.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10
Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face. – Psalm 5:8
Remember & Talk of the Good
In the midst of hard times, it is easy to feel like there is no room for anything else. The Psalms teach us that pain and praise can coexist. We don’t have to dismiss our struggles for inauthentic optimism. But after giving time to express our hearts before the Lord, we can take a few deep breaths and ponder on how He is moving in our lives.
By remembering and talking of the good, we can find peace in our souls and unveil hidden blessings we might normally miss.
Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. – Psalm 66
My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long – Psalm 71:24
What are some of the things you learn from the Psalms?