Scripture Reading — Psalm 88
LORD, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you.
Psalm 88:1 —
In the 2001 season finale of NBC’s West Wing President Bartlett is in anguish. His secretary has just died in a drunken driving accident. Political opponents are about to leak word of his multiple sclerosis, claiming he is unable to lead. Torment over life’s cruel twists leads him to linger in the National Cathedral after his secretary’s funeral. After other guests have gone, his handlers aim to whisk him away. But with secret service agents blocking the door, he prays to God.
He doesn’t begin with “Our Father in heaven …” No. With nerves raw and faith tested, he hisses, “You’re a feckless thug.” That’s just the translated part. Then the rest is offered in Latin: “Am I really to believe these are the acts of a loving God? A just God? I was your servant here on earth, and I spread your word and I did your work… May you go to a cross!” The scene ends with Bartlett, in a show of contempt, crushing a cigarette on the cathedral floor.
A prayer like this tends to make people uncomfortable. Many believers feel that “complaining in faith” is a contradiction in terms. But if we question or complain to God, that doesn’t mean our faith is gone. In the end, Psalm 88 shows we can be completely transparent with God. If we have hurts and anger, we can go ahead and share that with God. He’s big enough to take it.
Jesus, you are the light of the world who steps into our darkness. Help us to trust in you, even in our darkest times, holding to your promise that you will never let us go. Amen