Psalm 22. A Song of Lament.


Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 22. (MsgB)

God, God . . . my God! Why did You dump me miles from nowhere?
Doubled up with pain, I call to God all the day long. No answer. Nothing.
I keep at it all night, tossing and turning.

And here I am, a nothing—an earthworm, something to step on, to squash.
Everyone pokes fun at me; they make faces at me, they shake their heads:
“Let’s see how God handles this one; since God likes him so much, let Him help him!”

“Belief in God doesn’t exempt us from feeling abandoned by Him. Praising God doesn’t inoculate us from doubts about Him. Meditating devoutly on God’s Word doesn’t insulate us from feelings of darkness and dryness, of desertion and desolation.” Eugene Peterson.

As it turns out, King David’s song of lament (Psalm 22, verses 1-21) will be one Jesus of Nazareth will hum to Himself as He is hanging on a cross outside the City of David in 33 AD.

So the next time one of those victorious Christians steps up to you while you are lamenting and tells you that you need to stop your pity party, put on a smiley face and claim your victory, I’d suggest that you pull out Psalm 22 and tell your well-meaning but confused brother or sister in Christ to take a long walk on a short plank.

Lament, you see, is a necessary part of the life of a true follower of God. I say that not because I see lament as a nice thing, but simply because lament comes part and parcel with the age in which we live. In truth, from the Day Adam and Eve were dismissed from God’s garden (see Genesis 3) until the Day Jesus splits the skies, returning to consummate God’s masterful redemption plan of planet earth (see Revelation 19), you and I live in a time and place that is separated from God.

Now the good news is that Jesus of Nazareth came to this desolate place two thousand years ago and shifted the scenario to such a degree that any threat of permanent desolation and isolation from God was destroyed. Hallelujah! But the bad news is that as long as you and I still live here on this fallen globe there will still be seasons and reasons for lament. Days when we feel that lingering isolation and desertion deep within our souls. That’s why Kingdom-based believers call this time and place we live in (the age between the first and second coming of Christ) as the ‘time between the times.’

On one hand, (see the joyous verses of Psalm 22: 22-31) we are able to live and breathe in the joy of our salvation. But quite honestly, we also will have seasons in this life when the lament found in the first 21 verses of Psalm 22 is our fate as well.

So take heart my friends. Note that Jesus, our victorious Savior, had times in His life when David’s lament from Psalm 22 was the song He had to sing. But with the lamenting song of darkness also comes the celebration song of a New Day still coming. Good Friday is always followed by Resurrection Sunday. And those who lament in Christ today will also have the sweet joy of victory tomorrow, just as the dying Christ experienced a powerful resurrection in God’s due time.

My prayer: God, from what I read in Psalm 22, Good Friday is indeed a Good Lament. If this song of David was Jesus’ choice of songs to sing while hanging on the Cross, let it be sufficient for me in my dark days or turbulent times. Teach me the gift of lamenting song on days when my troubles nearly threaten to silence my voice. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: Have I given myself permission to lament? Can I see it as a necessary part of the Christian life, thus removing the shame and criticism that sometimes comes when I just don’t feel like jumping for joy? If singing Psalm 22 (verses 1-21) was good enough for the Master, why should it not become a necessary part of my songbook as well?

So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?


Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.

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