Most of us know that the Psalms are lyrics to actual songs that would have been sung in ancient times- kinda like the first hymnal or songbook, right? Well, as I've been reading through many of them, I'm coming across words that would NEVER, and I mean NEVER top the charts of ANY contemporary Christian station... (here's just a quick few I found while flipping around)
- "the darkness is my closest friend."- Psalm 88:18 (wouldn't that make a great praise chorus?)
- "Your wrath lies heavily upon me, you have overwhelmed me with all your waves"- Ps. 88:7
- "Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin"- Ps. 52:5
- "You have rejected us, O God, and burst forth upon us"- Ps. 60:1
- "I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God."- Ps. 69:3
- "Why have you rejected us forever, O God?" -Ps. 74:1
- "May they [enemies] ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace"- Ps. 83:17
And you know what? That is SO unbelievably encouraging to me. The Bible is telling me that I don't have to show up to church, put on a plastic smile, and sing happy-clappy songs. I don't have to pretend as if life is just one big party now that I'm a Christian. Certainly David didn't feel that way as he was writing these Psalms.
It seems like the songs that ARE topping the charts and filling up our worship services are primarily songs filled with one emotion: praise & adoration. Now is that a bad thing? Absolutely not! Oh, He is certainly worthy of our praise & adoration for all of eternity! But when my "diet" of worship ONLY consists of songs that require me to conjure up happy feelings, what happens on those days when I'm struggling with doubt, loneliness, or sin? What about the day after a loved one dies tragically? What about the days where I don't even feel like I love God at all?
Here's where the Psalms come into play. They capture ALL of those emotions. ALL of our days- not just the happy ones. The Lord Himself saw fit to include in His revealed word, the Bible, songs of great lament and songs of doubt. He is big enough to handle all of my fickle feelings, and He encourages me to express them, too.
That's why I love the honesty of so many of the old hymns that have lyrics like...
- "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love."-- Come Thou Fount
- "He made me feel the hidden evils of my heart and let the angry powers of Hell assault my soul in every part."- I Asked the Lord
- "In thy service pain is pleasure. With Thy favor, loss is gain."- Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken
- "But oh! When gloomy doubts prevail, I fear to call Thee mine. The springs of comfort seem to fail, and all my hope declines." - Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul
- "Be still my soul when dearest friends depart and all is darkened in the vale of tears." -Be Still My Soul
- "Just as I am tho' tossed about with many conflict, many a doubt, fightings and fears within, without, o Lamb of God I come." -Just as I Am
p.s. if you're interested in looking up any of those hymns I mentioned, you can find music to them on the RUF Hymnbook online.