Many are anxious as a rending of the health care safety net is transpiring. Decisions are underway that threaten to exclude a growing sector of the population from basic access. The tension between federal and state responsibilities will only grow, and each will resort to blaming the other. Preserving the wealth of the few by sacrificing the poor is unworthy of a nation who claims moral status.
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hideyourself from me?How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart allday long? How long shall my enemies be exalted over me?Consider and answer me, O LORD my God! Give light to my eyes, or Iwill sleep the sleep of death. (Psalm 13:1-3)
The Psalter offers words to express our deepest emotions. Raw and unbridled, this psalm of lament gathers up the present moment. While persons of faith trust that God has not forgotten them, it is hard to believe that their particular plight matters in the larger scheme.
Psalms of lament are addressed to God, for where else can the downtrodden go? Who else can renew courage to cry out against injustice and not lose heart? Who else can we trust with our raging fear?
There are more psalms of lament than of sheer praise in the Psalter, and they invite the most honest kind of prayer. If there is no room for lament in our private and corporate prayer, we only offer sanitized superficialities. When the people of God gather, the pews sag with unspoken grief and personal suffering.
It is time to dust off the Psalter and let its powerful words direct our prayer and heal our wounded hearts. Especially now.