Psalm 88:18: “Loved one and friend You have put far from me, / And my acquaintances into darkness.”

December 31st, 2020 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Some have called this psalm the “dark night of the soul,” because it doesn’t end on an up-beat note. It is possibly the only psalm that ends without a solution or really even any relief. It was written by the son of Korah, who had been ill or injured since his youth (verse 15), and was struggling with God’s failure to answer his prayer for healing. Even though he did not understand God’s ways, he kept turning to God in trust. He assumed that the Lord was angry with him, and like Job, couldn’t find any cause for God to be upset with him. He did not understand what we as New Testament believers have the privilege of grasping: God allows it to rain upon the good and the evil.

On February 9, 1555, during the reign of Queen Mary, pastor John Hooper, after some time in prison, was burnt at the stake for preaching the truth. A few years prior to his execution, he sent a letter to his wife encouraging her, when she felt troubled, to read Psalm 88. He said it was the prayer of a man who:

was brought into extreme anguish and misery, and being vexed with adversaries and persecutions, saw nothing but death and hell. And although he felt in himself, that he had not only man, but also God angry towards him, yet he by prayer humbly resorted unto God, as the only port of consolation, and, in the midst of his desperate state of trouble, put the hope of his salvation in him, whom he felt his enemy.

Hooper knew his family did not understand why their prayers for his freedom were not answered, but he also understood that sometimes events in life are clouded this side of heaven. Life is messy and sometimes things happen that do not add up in our minds. We do believe in an all-powerful God, who can do whatever needs to be done, but we often feel the need to tell Him exactly what that should be. Could telling God what to do be a problem?

“LORD, we look to You to filter everything that comes into our lives today. Please give us the grace to walk in what You allow.”