O Lord , God of my salvation,
I have cried out day and night before You.
Let my prayer come before You;
Incline Your ear to my cry.

For my soul is full of troubles,
And my life draws near to the grave.
I am counted with those who go down to the pit;
I am like a man who  has no strength,
Adrift among the dead,
Like the slain who lie in the grave,
Whom You remember no more,
And who are cut off from Your hand.
You have laid me in the lowest pit,
In darkness, in the depths.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
And You have afflicted me with all Your waves.

Selah

You have put away my acquaintances far from me;
You have made me an abomination to them;
I  am shut up, and I cannot get out;
My eye wastes away because of affliction.

Lord , I have called daily upon You;
I have stretched out my hands to You.
Will You work wonders for the dead?
Shall the dead arise and praise You?

Selah

Shall Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave?
Or Your faithfulness in the place of destruction?
Shall Your wonders be known in the dark?
And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
But to You I have cried out, O Lord ,
And in the morning my prayer comes before You.

Lord , why do You cast off my soul?
Why do You hide Your face from me?
I have  been afflicted and ready to die from my youth;
I suffer Your terrors; I am distraught.
Your fierce wrath has gone over me;
Your terrors have cut me off.
They came around me all day long like water;
They engulfed me altogether.
Loved one and friend You have put far from me,
And my acquaintances into darkness.
Psalms 88:1-18 NKJV

To those who would foolishly point their fingers at another that is in trouble or sickness or oppression, and like those “friends of Job”, would tell a praying and trusting man of God that it is his lack of faith –

To those who would foolishly align a man’s prosperity and health and positive mental attitude as a yardstick of the hand of God upon His life –

To those who have not received the sweet lashes of His correction and who have not shared in the sufferings, trials, and tribulations of a cross bearing life –

Knowing and walking this very Psalm or personally in their own lives might be the very best lesson about the hand of God and His ways being higher than ours.

Or if they are headed off into destruction and death and eternal separation from God, maybe it is merciful that they at least get to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh, since they have refused the eternal treasures of God.

If you have not yet lived this Psalm, I pray that you might, friend. It will take you to a place of closeness that the milk and cereal of “sugar coated, buddy Jesus” just doesn’t measure up to. Don’t remain satisfied by milk forever. There is work to be done, friend. Eat your bread, and work through this meat,  so that you will stand strong and firm for what faces us today – and so that you will be equipped and shown worthy of this upward call to Christ.

Amen.