Psalm 22 was quoted by Jesus at the end of his life when he said, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" That's the first line of the psalm. Many believe that Jesus' point was to personally use Scripture to explain his feelings, so he knew that if he kickstarted the song everyone else would soon be singing the words -- or at least calling them into thought.
This psalm gets at the core of our relationship with God: trust. God, I am hurting. I am suffering at the hands of others. They heap insults on me. God, I feel that you are the only one I have to turn to. What do I make with my suffering?
So the psalmist wrangles up his feelings, puts them to word, and cranks the speakers to 11 and sings out his complaint to God. How healthy! I believe that most of us would be healthier if we would allow our selves the freedom to feel and think and to not repress. Just say the truth: I'm hurting; I'm confused; I don't know what to do. I am confused because I did everything I could do and things still fell apart. I don't know what's next for me and I'm scared. Will the center hold?
What I love about this psalm and what I've witnessed several times lately is that hope grounded in God comes to the surface in what seems to be the unlikeliest of times. Plants are drawn skyward by light. We don't fear the dark, because darkness does not cause hope and praise to go dormant. Light shines in the dark and the dark has not overcome it.
The psalmist confesses trust in verse 9, "Yet you brought me out of the womb, you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God." All of his life is grounded in trust -- God, I've always been dependent upon you, but this moment helps me realize it even more.
It is the closeness of God in his life that gives the psalmist the ability to praise, "I will declare your name to others; in the congregation I will praise you . . . for God has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help" (Verse 22, 24).
Telling God the truth about your circumstances and praising God leads us to tell others about the comfort and strength we have received. Once we have found help in the Lord we don't keep it for ourselves, but we declare to others, "God has helped when I thought there was no help. God met me in the storm and bore me safely home."
I wonder where you might be. Read Psalm 22 and see the stoutness of hope that pushes against cynicism and despair. God is good even when our circumstances are difficult. May this truth follow you all the days of your life.