In an era where distractions crowd out my ability to listen to God, the Psalms offer me a quick touch point, reminding me of who He is, and who I am in relation to Him and to others.
Within the Psalms, I find every emotion ever felt; love, contentment, triumph, rest, national pride, and the comfort of family and friends.
I can even find those emotions I’d rather not utter; rage, sadness, greed, the desire for revenge, laments of not fitting in, the fear of death, and the desire never to have been born.
The Psalms offer me a unique connection by way of the scarlet thread of human emotions that has persisted through time, and has remained mostly unchanged. The specific context may be different, but the emotions, common to all, are there in the Psalms.
As I read the Psalms, I am comforted by two things: first, that I am not alone in my feelings, whatever they are, others have felt them too. And second, it is okay to bring those feelings, no matter how confusing, or ugly, to God.
I am fortunate to read my Psalms from my mother’s Bible. She suffered with cancer for 20 months before dying. We never spoke about the Psalms, but I know she found solace in them, because she made notes in her Bible.
This morning, I am struck by several verses she underlined in Psalm 143.
“… my spirit fails me and my heart is full of fear”
“Quick, Yahweh, answer me before my spirit fails; if you hide your face much longer, I shall go down to the Pit like the rest”
“Reach down your hand from above, save me, rescue me from deep waters…”
I can’t help noticing as she underlined, the force of her pencil scored through the pages that follow. As I imagine her struggle, my heart is pulled into a place I know, yet do not fully understand. I think on her fear, the fear of the one who wrote the psalm, and my own fear – the scarlet thread connecting us.
Together we struggle, yet together we seek God for help. I rest in this comfort.
Below is a listing of psalms by type. Take a moment and consider one or two; there you will find lovely bits of wisdom and comfort!