The real issue for me as I read Psalm 88 is that unlike every other psalm of lament, there is no resolution, no moment at which the psalmist wrestles his heart and mind to the ground and confidently boasts that the Lord will revive him and come to his rescue. He justs plods on with his unanswered prayers. So what am I to do with this? How can I benefit and grow in my understanding of God from such a gloomy life portrayed in this way?
Here are my takeaways for Psalm 88:
1. The Lord, as He is revealed in Psalm 88, is still the God of my salvation. He is the sovereign Lord who powerfully orders my life. And despite what is happening in my life, His righteousness, power, and steadfast love call me to praise Him.
2. God is mysterious. Just when I think I have Him all figured out, He does something that is totally contrary to my understanding of Him and His ways. It is God who places the psalmist in the depths of a pit and causes his companions and even his "beloved," which could very possibly be his own wife, to shun him. Would the God I know do anything like this? Evidently He would and for good cause, but it is beyond human reasoning.
3. There is nothing sinful about asking the Lord for wisdom and answers in the darkest night of my soul. The psalmist in humility and submission to the Lord cries out "O LORD, why do you cast my soul away?
Why do you hide your face from me?"
4. The psalmist does not give up. He perseveres in prayer seeking God and His salvation day and night.
5. If the psalmist experienced all this and still persevered in prayer, and remained faithful to His God, I can and must do the same during the dark seasons of my life.
Psalm 88 is included below in its entirety. This is a psalm that should not be ignored. How can it when we will all eventually walk through the shadows in a similar way and require such a close and understanding companion as this man of God? That is the kind of help I can depend on.