Journal Ps 87-88 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “But I, O Lord, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
O Lord, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me? Afflicted and close to death from my youth up, I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.
Your wrath has swept over me; your dreadful assaults destroy me. They surround me like a flood all day long; they close in on me together.
You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness.” Ps 88:13-18
Observation: Such a gloomy set of verses. Referring to the premise that Psalms is a mirror of the soul, a written example of real life, what could this be about? Depression, despondency about failed/failing friendships…
Analysis: The way Christianity is practiced is a strange thing.
Not that practicing Christianity is strange, just the way that I see it and have experienced it practiced, that is, alone.
Oh, the Sunday gatherings are emphasized (“…not neglecting to meet together (as is the habit of some) but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Heb 10:25), but hospitality with believers and more importantly, individual friendships in the Lord.
The Psalmist is wringing his hands over the sensation that he is alone; separated from God, from the Spirit, from his Face. Moaning and groaning through the night. Why? Because he is alone.
Is he really alone, separated from God? No, of course not. But that knowledge in faith is not breaking through, either.
Feeling alone is like that. Like a black hole in the heart. “What am I supposed to do now? I need help but who do I turn to? Who is the Jonathan in my life like David had?” (refer to 1 Sam 18:1-3)
I need a Jonathan in my life, knitted to my heart. Everybody does. The lack of a Jonathan may not be felt or recognized, but the need is there. The Psalmist above knew it.
I know it too…
Prayer: Father, you created deep friendships to occur. I long for, even pine for one. I have my wife, who is such a gift of Grace I cannot imagine life without her. But it is not the same as you know. Until then, until That Day, make me satisfied with what you provide, hoping for, but not presumptuous about a “friend closer than a brother.” And, while I am at it, help me not to be shallow with the guys. AMEN.