Have you ever felt guilty for being honest with God? Have you ever felt like you are supposed to say nice things and be thankful, but really all you want to do is complain? You’re not alone.
Psalm 38 is designated as a “petition.” Mostly it’s a complaint, but the main petition is found in verses 21 & 22:
LORD, do not forsake me;Psalm 38:21-22 NIV
do not be far from me, my God.
Come quickly to help me,
my Lord and my Savior.
The psalmist blames Yahweh for the state he is in. “Your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down on me.” (v. 2) It’s “your wrath” that has caused my suffering. (v. 3) After many verses of lamenting his lowly state come these words:
LORD, I wait for you;Psalm 38:15 NIV
you will answer, Lord my God.
We’re dealing with a moody 4 year old daughter at the moment who sometimes decides she doesn’t want to say a prayer. I reminded her tonight that it’s ok if you’re mad, or sad, or unhappy…tell God that in prayer. Yet I find so many adults who don’t believe they can be honest when talking to the Creator of the the universe, as if he didn’t know how you felt already! Why not just be honest with him? It’s what we see the most in this section of the psalms.
But as we move through the psalter you begin to notice that there are more psalms of praise than lament. It’s as if the psalter as a whole is teaching us that even when it’s hard, even when you don’t want to, and even when all you want to do is cast blame, pray anyway! This practice, especially when it’s hard, molds us into the kind of person Yahweh wishes us to be.
Prayer is less about asking for what you want, and more about becoming who God wants.
So, happy or sad, thankful or angry…have you talked to God today?