This was our second week of going through the Psalms at Mount Hood Christian Center. We looked at Psalm 1 during my first week in the pulpit, and last Sunday we spent our time studying Psalm 6.
Now, Psalm 6 doesn’t get a lot of air time, because Psalm 6 is what you would call a lament. And lament generally makes us nervous, because no one likes to listen to a complaint. We’re taught to look on the bright side of things, and to be positive. So when others complain to us we typically want to fix the problem; not listen to their lament. So why read a Psalm like Psalm 6?
Well, Dan Allender says,
The language of lament is oddly the shadow side of faith.
What a curious statement. Lament is the shadow side of faith. FAITH!
But why faith? Because what else would inspire a true lament? It’s the productive way of handling negative emotions.
Here are 3 observations of how David handled his emotion with the lament of Psalm 6:
- David’s emotions were directed Outward. He externalized them. That’s important. If we bottle up emotions they can get toxic. We need to give our pain, our sorrow, and depression an external existence. We need to give them a voice. And a lamentation allows us to do that.
- David’s emotions are directed Godward. Not just outward, but Godward. If you’ll notice, verses 1-7 are a prayer. Emotions are to be prayed! Pray your sorrow, pray your grief, pray your anger. Vocalize your emotions to God. Bring them to Somebody who can do something about them. It may or may not be a good idea to bring them to people, but it’s ALWAYS a good idea to bring them to God. Emotions are to be directed Godward.
- And David’s emotions are directed Onward. David said in verse 3 “But you, O Lord – how long?” How long do I have to go through this. How long will this thing last? Do you see me? Do you care? Well, it’s been said, “When you’re going through hell, don’t stop!” Keep praying. Keep talking to God.
Because you know what? Something will happen in your heart! Check out the shift that occurs between verses 7 and 8. And what a seismic shift it was! “Depart from me, all you workers of evil.” David begins to speak with authority. The lamb of verses 1-7, becomes the roaring lion of verses 8-10. Something happened in his heart.
But, you don’t get the sense any thing had changed in his situation. But, it did in his soul. Triumph was birthed in his heart!
Sometimes when you’re facing a trial ya just gotta PUSH. Pray Until Something Happens! P.U.S.H. Pour out your heart. Pour out your lament to God.
Jesus did! Check out Hebrews 5:7:
“In the days of his flesh Jesus offered up prayers and supplications with Loud Cries and Tears to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his fear.”
Even Jesus had his trials, and ultimately it led to his triumph. But it was through the process of lament – Loud cries, and many tears.
Lament is Outward, Godward, and Onward. It’s the only productive way to handle our emotions. And that’s what we get from Psalm 6.