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  • Writer's pictureHopes Way Ministries

The Helping Hand of the Psalms

On my early morning walk today I walked by a flowing lake. In the middle of the lake, there is an embankment of rocks that cause the water to cascade downward. The noise of the water arrested my attention as it roared over the rocks and into a running stream.

I paused my journey to watch and listen to the music of the water. As I watched and listened to the water, I began to pay attention to the trees nearest to me. As I stood gazing at the tree and listening to the water I saw life and living from the animal kingdom. As I stood there, my thoughts ran to Psalm chapter 1 and I began to quote the words from this familiar Psalm. I began to see and feel the blessedness of its truth and I allowed it to fill my mind and soul.

Some of the trees allowed their branches to grow towards the water. The birds were chirping, going from branch to branch eating what they could find. They were happy that their sustenance was provided for the new family they were raising. This encounter caused me to think a bit more about the Psalms.

Most Christians that I know love the Psalms. These Poems or songs although written centuries ago, by a people and for people of different culture, beliefs, and life practices that are far from what you and I know today, yet these poems hold within themselves the power, strength, and wisdom of their words to help and to meet the 21st century Christian just where they are.

The Psalms in the Hebrew Bible the Tanakh are known as the “Writings or Kethuvim.” They are poems, prayers, and hymns written by different authors. It blesses me to know that God has seen fit to miraculously preserve these songs, these prayers, these laments, that echoes the faith and reverence of the ancients in order to help us on our journey of seeking God’s grace and mercy.

Have you ever experienced what is called “the dark night of the soul?” When your heart is overwhelmed with fear, anxious thoughts, and worry—may I direct your attention to Psalm 62:2 where the Psalmist declares, “the Lord is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved or shaken. How about Psalm 27:1? This is a great proclamation of one’s faith in God when one is overwhelmed in the throes of life. “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear; The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?”

How about when you are faced with uncertainties of life and that hole in your heart refuses to be healed and all you can do is wet your pillow every night with your secret tears. The Psalmist of chapter 88:1-2 can help you get through the night.” O Lord, God of my salvation, I have cried out day and night before You. Let my prayer come before You; Incline Your ear to my cry. . . My soul is full of troubles.

When you cannot see which way to turn, you cannot figure your way out of a jam then you can join your voice with David of old and cry, “had it not been for the Lord who was on my side, then life and life’s struggles would have eaten me alive” {Psalm 124:1-5}

One of the early church fathers by the name of Athanasius I of Alexandria said this about the Psalms “the Psalms speak for us” while the other “scripture speaks to us.”

I want to encourage you if you have trouble finding words to express what is in your heart to God, turn to the Psalms and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to a Psalm to help you in your time of need. Allow the Psalms to speak for you. Whatever you might be experiencing, you can turn to the Psalms and allow the Psalmist to lend you his or her voice to talk to Adonai—the Lord. The words of the Psalmist will aid you and put words to your pain, to your frustration, to your joy, to your sorrow, to your despair and help you to connect your faith and your words in the rawest sense so you can express your feelings to your creator, the maker of heaven and earth. God is not afraid of our words, He is after our heart—He wants to display His amazing love in and through our life’s situation. God loves you. He cares about you. He has promised, “I will never, never, never leave you nor forsake you.” He is your keeper, he is your shade, he is your protection from all evil. He will keep your soul. He will guard you as you go out and as you come in from this time forth and even forevermore Psalm 121.

Here are a few of my favorite Psalms that have helped me and continue to help me through the dark night of the soul. See Psalm 27; 34; 18; 25; 119; 42; 46; and 37 and many more.

Be Blessed as you join your faith with the ancients to help you in your daily life.

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