There is such variety among the psalms. While some voice extravagant praise to God, others – arguably, more – consist of extravagant complaint. The person or community that is addressing God does not hold back in expressing their need and making demands. If God is faithful, then why wouldn’t that faithfulness be revealed in relation to my circumstances?
I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eyes waste away because of grief;
they grow weak because of all my foes. (vv.6-7)
Typically, the speaker’s hurt and rage is fully expressed – no holds barred! While this may have psychotherapeutic value in itself – no denial! – these words are also directed in demand to God, as if to remind him of his steadfast love and mobilise him to action. ‘Turn… save… deliver!’ (v.4).
Lament might seem full of accusation and indignation, yet it is also full of faith. The logic of lament is that – if God is really God – then God bears responsibility for righting wrong, for restoring order, for establishing justice, for healing pain. Lament inspires me not to be afraid in prayer – not to hide from God my anger or my fear. Lament invites me to get real with God, realising (of course) that God already knows what’s on my heart and can deal with it. Indeed, God is surely the most effective place to take it!