Throughout the book of Psalms in the Old Testament, we find David lamenting, “Hey God, what’s the deal? How come the wicked are prospering and I’m getting a raw deal? I don’t understand it, and I’m really upset. You anointed me king, but now I’m catching spears from this guy named Saul. And God, if you’ve got this great plan for my life, how come I’m running around with this band of hobos, sleeping in caves at night, and running for my life? Hey God, my count is down, I’m ticked off. How long are you going to ignore my situation? How long are you going to let this go on? Where are you? What are you doing? This is unfair, God! Do you even care?”
About one fourth of the Psalms are referred to as the “lament psalms” in which a godly man expresses his disappointment and hurt. Where does he go to express it? To God. It’s okay to express our hurts to God. He understands.
But did you know that most of those psalms end with a recognition of God’s love and greatness? Though they start with pain, they usually end with praise. “O God,” he says, “who could I turn to but you. You are my healer, my shield, my rock, and my redeemer. I was just blowing off steam. I was just hurting. I’ve just been let down. Who else could I go to? I will praise you, Lord, for you are a great, loving, and merciful God. Even though I don’t understand, I will still trust you.”
We need to make some of our own lamenting psalms. We need to take our hurt to God. We need to make our needs known. As I (Chip) learned to recognize and deal with the same deeper issues behind my anger, I realized I needed some tools to help me. It didn’t come naturally to ask the kind of questions we are recommending, so I started by keeping a journal. It wasn’t anything fancy—just writing out thoughts and feelings and processing issues in my heart in a safe place.
Chip Ingram and Becca Johnson, Overcoming Emotions That Destroy: Practical Help for Those Angry Feelings That Ruin Relationships (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2009).
We have just released a new Bible study on The Life of David as Reflected in the Psalms.
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
The Early Years / Psalm 19, 8, 29
The Exile / Psalm 37, 59, 52
The Exile, Part 2 / Psalm 56, 54, 57
The King / Psalm 18, 33
The King, Part 2 / Psalm 24, 110, 60
The Tears of the Penitent / Psalm 51, 32
Chastisements / Psalm 41, 39, 55
The Songs of the Fugitive / Psalm 3, 4, 63, 62, 37