We might be surprised to find that a lot of the Psalms–most of them, in fact–are written in the midst of a terrible situation. Reading through the Psalms, it often seems like there isn’t any possible way the story will turn out well.
Nothing epitomizes that like Psalm 88. In this Psalm, we see one of the darkest and most raw expressions of despair in all of the Bible. Even a cursory look at Psalm 88 shows the depths of hopelessness the psalmist is experiencing: He is overwhelmed with troubles. His life draws near to death. He is like one without strength. He is set apart with the dead. He feels like God has remembered him no more. He finds himself in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths. He has experienced personal betrayal (v. 8), chronic pain (v. 15), and unthinkable loneliness (v. 18). The final line sums up the dismal tone of the psalm as a whole: “Darkness is my closest friend.”
Even though many of the Psalms are laments, they nearly always have a turn halfway through where the psalmist has a change of heart. Continue reading →