“Godly lament only differs from complaining if it draws you to take refuge in the shadow of God’s wings until the disaster has passed (Psalm 57:1c).”

The psalms have become home to me. Whenever I feel lost or filled to the brim with emotions too big for my finite soul, I find sanctuary in the psalms. I will never forget the first time I read psalms 5, 6, and 13. I was a new Christian, newly disabled yet undiagnosed, and had lost nearly everything.

In my immature understanding of the faith, I wondered what a peaches-and-cream Christianity had to say about my daggers and blood suffering. But when I read, “How long, O Lord? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? ... I am languishing.... Consider my groaning,” I was hooked. I dove headlong into the psalms and, finding the exposed marrow of a blood, sweat, and tears faith, I decided to drown there. I found a place to allow deep to call to deep in my soul and let the breakers of God’s sanctifying love pummel me over (Psalm 42:7). There, the Lord began the work of putting my self-sufficiency to death by planting the seed of a lament that would delight, honor and glorify Him.

Reading through the psalms you will find a lot of complaints. David himself was even quite the tattletale pointing his finger at those who had wronged him. These complaints would have done no good at all if they weren’t laments and requests addressed to the One Whom all things hold together. Godly lament only differs from complaining if it draws you to take refuge in the shadow of God’s wings until the disaster has passed (Psalm 57:1c).

As I read on in the Psalms, I found a kindred spirit in the shepherd king. I could identify with him in Psalm 38, pained and deserted when no one believed I was sick. I could cry with Psalm 123 as I felt the weight of ridicule. I found solace in Psalm 55 to express the anguish of healing from Compound Post Traumatic Stress with Psychosomatization. I snuggled into a place of refuge (Psalm 46) to have my battered hopes and dreams bound up (147:3) when diagnosed a year and a half later with Fibromyalgia. When self-harm is a constant temptation of varying degree, Psalm 13 shows me how to call out to the One whose love is steadfast (v. 5) and ask Him to deliver me (Psalm 70, 71:1-4). I gained a paradoxical friendship with King David when I, too, felt darkness was my only friend (Ps. 88). I found my fortress in Psalm 59 as the Enemy whispered his lies tempting me to end it all. Still, today as the trials, temptations, diagnoses, accusations, and setbacks continue to barrel in I am reminded that I am on pilgrimage to the courts of God (Psalm 84). Whether I am facing sorrow so deep that it threatens to erase my soul in utter darkness, or rage as fierce as a rabid bear, I know I can go to the psalms to be seen, understood and pointed heavenward.

Through steeping in the psalms, I learned what it meant to long for heaven in a healthy way. I had fallen into an immature love with our poetic Creator, longing to be with Him in heaven sooner rather than later moreso to end my suffering. Like Paul, I began to ponder, “to live is Christ and to die is gain - which shall I choose?” (Philippians 1:21). Yet as I followed the psalmists’ example of calling out to my God, my desire for heaven slowly grew from suicidal to a healthy lamentful longing. My desire for heaven began as wanting the suffering to end but bloomed into a desire to meet my Savior face to face. I wonder how much my wounds and scars will look like His. I want to see the abundance of burdens I once carried that He took upon Himself and carried for me. I am a little soul with big and complex burdens - none bigger than Him - and I praise the Lord I am not the first, the only, nor alone.

Clip My Wings that I May Fly

When i cry out, “Lord, let me die,”
please remind me, Father,
You clipped my wings that i could fly.

i don’t need legs to dance,
or hips to sway,
nor notes from my lips,
to brighten my day.

Just a song in my heart,
my Lord on my mind,
though a realm apart,
i'm not far behind.

Just a lifetime away.

When i can’t hold on any longer,
i fall on my face,
to worship my God,
in this holy place.

There is nowhere like it,
i hope you will see,
that Christ carries on,
when there's nothing left of me.

i hide in this place,
though dreary and cold,
curled up with my Master,
yes, Him from of Old.

When i don’t know what to do,
what to say or where to go,
i know i’ll stand firm,
no matter how the wind may blow.

Still, as my bones are covered with skin,
here is my soul encased therein.
My hair may turn white,
with wrinkles on my face,
but i pray with all my might,
these things will not take place.

My soul has grown wings,
because of my King,
yet covered with scales,
a bird on a string.

Sooner rather than later,
i pray to depart,
all of Him for all of me,
to be nearer His heart.

When i cry out, “Lord, let me die,”
please remind me, Father,
You clipped my wings that i could fly.

Jennifer Ko

Jennifer is a member of Cornerstone WLA and serves in the Counseling Ministry.

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