Read: Psalm 88:1, 2, 7, 16; Hebrews 4:15, 5:8 – 9
Psalm 88 has been categorized as a Messianic psalm because it pictures the suffering of the Messiah, the “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.” The psalm also pictures the spiritual state of any believer who finds himself feeling separate from God, or under the wrath of God, because of suffering. The protagonist of the psalm was a person of faith; he recognized God as Savior and continued to call out to God day and night.
Think About It: Have I ever felt that God was distant or hostile towards me? In what sense was Christ “made perfect” through suffering? Do I really believe that Jesus understands all my troubles?
Prayer: Thank God that whatever I am called to go through, Jesus has been there before me.
Read: Psalm 88:3; Hebrews 12:3 – 12; James 1:2 – 4; John 9:3; 11:4; Romans 8:22
The intense, unbearable suffering described in Psalm 88 raises the question of “why?”
Think About It: What answers are suggested as a reason for suffering by the scripture passages for today?
Prayer: Pray to be spared from testing and temptation.
Read: Psalm 88:3; Romans 15:1; Galatians 6:2
What does someone who suffers the intense suffering described in Psalm 88 need? Psalm 88:3 describes suffering as a soul full of troubles which seems too much to bear. Suffering can be a crushing burden. The sufferer needs help in carrying that heavy load.
Think About It: What are some practical ways that I might help alleviate the burden of suffering in someone else?
Prayer: For grace to help others carry their heavy burdens.
Read: Psalm 88:4, 8; Job 4:7 – 9
The sufferer in Psalm 88 felt cut off from friends. He had become an object of loathing. Job’s experience with suffering shows that sometimes the sufferer is blamed for his suffering, and is an object of loathing to his friends. The sufferer needs human contact, needs to feel accepted and appreciated.
Think About It: What are some ways I might be a window to the outside world for someone who is suffering? How might I show a sufferer that they are accepted and appreciated?
Prayer: For the opportunity to be a window for the light of God’s grace.
Read: Psalm 88:5, 139:1 – 13; Deuteronomy 4:31; Isaiah 49:13 – 16; Jeremiah 23:23 – 24; Acts 17:27
The sufferer in Psalm 88 felt cut off from and forgotten by God. The sufferer needs to know that God has not forgotten Him; that God is not far off, but near at hand.
Think About It: How can I help a sufferer who feels forgotten by God to see that God is near to them and understands their plight?
Prayer: Thank God that He is near to me and understands me.
Read: Psalm 88:7, 16; John 5:24; Romans 4:7 – 8, 8:1; 1 John 1:9
The sufferer in Psalm 88 felt he was suffering under God’s wrath. The sufferer may need encouragement regarding repentance and forgiveness if he is aware of sin in his life. He needs to know that for those who have faith in Christ, there is no condemnation, that in Christ, we are no longer under God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:3 – 9).
Think About It: Is it possible for a person who is forgiven by God to feel that God is punishing them because of the suffering in their life? How can I help assure such a sufferer of the reality of God’s forgiveness?
Prayer: Praise God that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Read: Psalm 88:10 – 12; 2 Corinthians 11:21 – 30
The sufferer in Psalm 88 felt that his life was without purpose. He was overwhelmed with a sense of despair and meaninglessness. The sufferer needs to recover a sense of purpose and mission for his life. The Apostle Paul is an example of how a sense of purpose and mission can sustain a person through tremendous, almost incomprehensible, suffering.
Think About It: How can I help a sufferer discover meaning and a sense of purpose for their life? Is there always meaning in suffering? Do our lives always have a purpose?
Prayer: For a deeper sense of my own mission and purpose in life.