When Overwhelmed with Trouble – Psalm 88:3-5

I am overwhelmed with troubles
and my life draws near to death.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am like one without strength.
I am set apart with the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more,
who are cut off from your care.

Psalm 88:3-5 NIV

Seldom in my life have I been brought to a point of despair. And then only briefly. But I know many whose life is a constant struggle. Despair is always knocking at the door. And the bright light at the end of the tunnel seems to be an oncoming train.

If you are that person, then this psalm was written for you. This psalm is attributed to Heman the Ezrahite. This is the only mention of this name in the Scripture, so it is not possible to know his circumstances. But reading this psalm can be a real downer. He is in the most dire circumstances, abandoned by his friends and feeling rejected by God.

This psalm in itself is not very uplifting. But it does have something positive to say. This psalm, like all of the Scripture, is inspired by God. And it is included in the Hebrew hymnal. Pouring out your heart to God in despair is not a bad thing. It is actually expected that we do so. This psalm encourages us to tell God how we feel.

God Welcomes Your Complaints

God does not want to hear just how blessed we are. To hear our praise for his greatness. Or to make personal requests or intercessions for others. All of those are good and appropriate. But we are also invited to share the bitterness of our heart. So when you find yourself overwhelmed with trouble, take your complaint to God in prayer. And know that he will hear you when you do.

There is no indication of any response from God to this psalm. It starts and ends in despair. But I do not doubt that his cry was heard.

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