Psalms: A Book of the Heart
I have more questions than answers these days.
The world is making less sense to me as the days pass. People are more divided and angrier than ever before. Common sense seems to have been abandoned. Civil discourse has disappeared. And evil men and women pursue their own agendas to the detriment of the godly.
So, like the psalmist of old, I direct my questions to God. Questions like:
- “Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1 ESV).
- “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I . . . have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? (Psalm 13:1-2).
- “O Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult?” (Psalm 94:3).
These types of questions are one of the reasons I appreciate the Psalms so much. The psalmists, whether King David or others, poured out their heart and soul to the Lord. So much so, that the book of Psalms is often referred to as a “book of the heart.” No holding back. No polite inquiries.
And, as if the Lord needed reminding, the psalmists boldly reminded Him of their situations:
- “In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.” (Psalm 10:2).
- “They pour out their arrogant words; all the evildoers boast.” (Psalm 94:4).
Do you feel like that at times? Like the world has gone mad and evil is triumphing with no end in sight? Do you wonder why righteous people struggle while evil people are undeterred?
It’s okay to take those feelings to God. The psalmists did. God is big enough to take our questions and our discouragement. He’s big enough to handle our frustrations and our disappointments. Because regardless of the way things appear, He is still sovereign—still in control. And when we bring Him the things that cause us to be disquieted in our spirit, He exchanges them for His peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:6-7).
This peace is not found in our circumstances, but rather in God’s character and attributes. He is good all the time. Trustworthy. Wise. And more than able to accomplish His purposes throughout His creation and in each one of us. We’re then able to reach the same conclusions the psalmists did: that God doesn’t always remove our troubles, but He does carry us through them.
- “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” (Psalm 43:5).
- “But . . . I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.” (Psalm 52:8).
- “But I will trust in you.” (Psalm 55:23).
- “But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” (Psalm 73:28).
- “But the LORD has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge.” (Psalm 94:22).
So where are you today? Are you in a place of frustration, giving God an earful of your venting? Are you in a place of instructing God as to what you think He should do? (I’ve tried that on many occasions, but He has yet to take any of my advice!) Or are you in a place of surrender and submission as you exchange turmoil for peace?