back to Homepage

A Psalm of Lament

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green
pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,  for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all
the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.  (Psalm 23 ESV)


You are my shepherd, but I do not feel your presence just now; you seem far away and removed. Where are you? Why can I not feel you near when I need you most and I am most blue. “I shall not want”. But I do want. Want you to be near. Want you to calm my fears. Want you to end all of this upheaval and uncertainty. Yes, I do want.


The green pasture has become dried, sun-burnt grasses; there is no life here. Lie down here? No. I wish to lay in lush green grass not the dry dustiness. The waters are as a raging, white-cap sea; there is tempest and maelstrom. Peace has fled from these waves. I long for peaceful waters. My soul is weary and needs restoration. I need strength beyond my meager resources.


In this valley I long to see you near with me, I long for your comforting presence and the sense of protection that rod and staff impart. I would feel better, more spiritual to say that I do not fear but I do fear. I will not pretend to be anything but a weak human. Will you not allay me fears? Will you not protect me from despair?  Will you drive away the evil one who would destroy the vestiges of hope and faith?


Oh Lord I see no table; there is no cup of wine. The only spring is of troubles and trials that rise before me; they do not cease to flow.  Oh how I long for goodness and mercy; I long for your house. But I stand in a field of burnt, dried brown grass.


Restore my soul. Bring me comfort and hope and healing I pray. Please Father, show me your goodness and mercy.


Have you ever felt this way, been at this place? Have you ever had days where you feel as if God is a galaxy away and your own prayers
don’t even reach the ceiling? 

Yes, we are wonderfully and fearfully made; we are also fragile, dust really. There are days, for some, many days, when we long for comfort and the stillness of the hammer laid down, the anvil, quiet and  the furnace, cool. We long for the wind to quiet and the waves to calm and to feel the peace of sunshine upon us.


The timing of peace, of the relenting of the storm and the ceasing of the shaping in the forge is not in our hands. Oh, our God and Father how we long at times to hold the throttle in our hands that we could simply stop the trial.


We know to trust in our souls, but our heart is weak. Help us, be tender with us because we are dust and the divine breath can scatter us into oblivion.


Copyright © 2011 Brian Bailey, Author