Do you sometimes feel as if God isn’t interested in you? Do you experience times in your life when you face a situation of hopelessness and despair? You pray, but God doesn’t answer; your circumstances stay the same; you feel that you have come to the end of your tether. Facing darkness and despair is part of our lives. The question before us is how do we continue to live the life of faith in the midst of darkness and despair? Let us look at Psalm 88 as an answer to this question.
Psalm 88 has been called “an embarrassment to conventional faith”. What we hear in the psalm is a voice of despair, fear, and hopelessness, crying out to a silent and absent God. It is little wonder that Psalm 88 is often regarded as one of the darkest corners of the Psalter. The psalm is the desperate cry of someone who seeks to connect with God, but the sound of God’s silence explodes in his ears. The psalmist finds himself in the deepest darkness of abandonment and despair. Yet, his unanswered cry does not silence the poet. God may stay quiet, but not the psalmist. He continues to hurl his cries into an empty sky, convinced that even in the face of God’s inattention, He must still be addressed. Even when confronted with the reality of death, the poet sticks to his protest, to be met yet again with more silence. God doesn’t speak, and He doesn’t act. The poet is ignored, snubbed, shunned, and rejected. The last word he speaks is darkness. His life of faith has ended in darkness. Nothing has changed, nothing has been resolved, and life has been denied.