How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
The psalms are a collection of songs and poems that have touched people for thousands of years. There are favorites that people turn to in many seasons of life and then there are other psalms that are less popular because they sound vengeful or extreme, called imprecatory psalms. I’ve long wrestled with the value of those Psalms. In these texts, the author begs God to violently destroy their enemies. What do we do with texts like that in scripture? Should we be praying prayers like that?
Not long ago, someone sent me a short video clip that not only explained how we might read imprecatory Psalms but also explained how the Psalms can serve the human soul in general. I encourage you to watch the video here.
The psalms are not texts meant to demonstrate how we should feel about the world around us. Instead, the Psalms are texts that teach us what to do with our feelings when we feel them. The safest place to express the extremes of all our emotions is to God. God can handle our emotional world. If we are angry, sad, confused, or joyful we must learn from the Psalms and express the full range of our emotions to our good Father.
This week, try praying more fully from the heart. God is not surprised by how you are feeling. Tell him when things are hard and tell him when things are good. Cultivate a more conversational prayer life with God. He is the safest place to process the world of human emotion.
By Aaron Bjorklund