Grief is a reality in this life, even for those who love Christ. One place we see extreme grief illustrated in the Bible is in the psalms of lament. Yet even these writings aid us by helping to order our disordered affections and set them aright. Christopher Ash demonstrates this truth from Psalm 74, where the psalmist’s initial anguish is assuaged by reminding himself of who God is and that He is sovereign over all.
1O God, why do you cast us off forever?
Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?
2Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old,
which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage!
Remember Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.
3Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins;
the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary!
4Your foes have roared in the midst of your meeting place;
they set up their own signs for signs.
5They were like those who swing axes
in a forest of trees.2
6And all its carved wood
they broke down with hatchets and hammers.
7They set your sanctuary on fire;
they profaned the dwelling place of your name,
bringing it down to the ground.
8They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”;
they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.
9We do not see our signs;
there is no longer any prophet,
and there is none among us who knows how long.
10How long, O God, is the foe to scoff?
Is the enemy to revile your name forever?
11Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand?
Take it from the fold of your garment3 and destroy them!
12Yet God my King is from of old,
working salvation in the midst of the earth.
13You divided the sea by your might;
you broke the heads of the sea monsters4 on the waters.
14You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
15You split open springs and brooks;
you dried up ever-flowing streams.
16Yours is the day, yours also the night;
you have established the heavenly lights and the sun.
17You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth;
you have made summer and winter.
18Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs,
and a foolish people reviles your name.
19Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild beasts;
do not forget the life of your poor forever.
20Have regard for the covenant,
for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.
21Let not the downtrodden turn back in shame;
let the poor and needy praise your name.
22Arise, O God, defend your cause;
remember how the foolish scoff at you all the day!
23Do not forget the clamor of your foes,
the uproar of those who rise against you, which goes up continually!
Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.