Troubled Times Call for Honest Hymns

When we face difficulties in this life, we usually turn to someone or something for comfort, encouragement, hope, direction, and/or advice. As believers, we often open our Bible to the Psalms. Forty years ago I had experienced several long nights of pain and inability to sleep. Later, it turned out that I had fractured three vertebrae and crushed so2012-08-20 17.31.44me of the discs in my back.

Not knowing that at the time, I turned the pages of the Book of Psalms in my Bible, looking for enlightenment and encouragement. strength and hope with which to face the long, long hours of the night. There are still tear stains on the page next to Psalm 130:5-6, “I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning; I say, more than they that watch for the morning” (KJV). Those words offered hope and the dark night around me lessened its oppressive hold–the psalmist understood what it was like to pray for the coming of the dawn. The imagery he used spoke clearly. The night will pass–and its pain.

The Psalter contains transparent songs in which the psalmists confess to fear, doubt, pain, suffering, difficulties, and trying times. They face their problems honestly. They freely confess their own sin and its contribution to their difficult times and circumstances. They turn to God and cry out for His help, His comfort, His encouragement, His instruction, and His mercy. That’s why we love the Psalms so much.

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