July 13, 2020
Let it Out!

by Rev. Beverly Markham, Associate Pastor
"Help, O LORD, for there is no longer anyone who is godly; the faithful have disappeared from humankind. They utter lies to each other; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak."
Psalm 12:1-2
A dear old friend called me on the phone recently and spent a lot of time venting about COVID-19 and the problems it’s causing her college-aged kids, her husband’s business, her church’s summer plans, her wider community, etc. She gave me an earful. Then she moved on to complain and lament about the political distance and unrest in our country today. I got another earful. It was one of those moments when I felt like I was drinking water from a fire hose at 9 am.

It was clear to me that this dear old friend needed someone to vent to. This was the morning that her frustrations bubbled over and she needed a safe place to let it out, and I was on the other end of the phone. It is hard to stay in conversations like this these days because we are all carrying a lot of frustration and worry, and when anyone else’s spills over onto us, the burden gets heavy very quickly.

We all need a place and words and permission to let out our frustrations these days, and the Psalms are an excellent resource for learning how to express your anger or frustration at how things are going in your life. Taking our complaints to God is a statement of trust that God cares for us, even when we are angry or frustrated. Taking our complaints to God means that we trust God is present with us in our suffering. Sometimes, we feel that we have to be “holy” when we talk to God, but the Psalms teach us that God can handle anything we might dish out in our prayers.

There are more Psalms of lament or complaint than any other Psalm type. Psalm 12:1-2 (above) is one example of how the Psalmist complains to God about those other people who are being annoying. Take a look at Psalms 3, 4, 7, 10, 13, 46, 69, 73, 78, 79, 82, 88, 105, 136. [1] Notice that while they all name their complaints to God, they also end with a statement of trust in God.

A good spiritual discipline is to attempt to rewrite a few lines of a Psalm. How would you write a psalm of lament or complaint for 2020? As you’ll see when you read some of the ones listed here, the more specific we are in our complaints, the better. Ultimately, after we’ve poured out our complaints to God in prayer, we are reminded of God’s faithfulness and of our trust in God for our lives.
God of our future, we are in a present state of worry and constant fatigue. Rescue us from this virus that wreaks havoc on our people, our hospitals, our schools, our restaurants, our businesses, our churches, and our entire world. At the same time, we pray you will send your Holy Spirit to direct the winds of change that are rushing around our country so that this will be the place where justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. So let it be. Amen.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009
770-751-0033 www.alpharettapres.com