Psalm 88 in counseling scenario...

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by zrs6v4, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. zrs6v4

    zrs6v4
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    Im not sure how this is going to go, but I had a friend tell me to read Psalm 88 so I had this thought-

    1. Read the Psalm and apply that to a person you know as if the words were his/hers.

    2. What would your response be to this person and what would you think?

    or just state your thoughts/feelings when reading psalms like this. can you relate?

    It is clear or at least as I see it that the Psalmist is expressing his honest thoughts about how he feels before God.

    He is in great terror and and suffering because of how he feels, but it is clear that God is his Father and he is a believer. I see in verses 9-12 that this Psalmist is actually in a beautiful state where he is rejoicing in the Lord and wants to praise Him even when he feels like God has left him for destruction.

    There is a lot to say, but Ill leave this open for discussion..
     
  2. HankD

    HankD
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    Psalm 88 was my experience for several years as I experienced as deep a depression as I imagine any human being could. I thought somehow this Psalm was written just for me.

    The Psalm is named for mahalath or for those with the "sickness".

    It became so severe that I couldn't even look at a Bible without descending into the bottomless pit of despair. I became suicidal as I depaired even of life itself. For a while I was institutionalized.
    My wife was at her wit's end.

    This happened after I had been saved for about 10 years and went on for 6-7 years. I can't explain how I knew God was still my father yet so fiercely felt the condemnation of God for sin and felt the agony of the lost.

    There was not a day when I woke and finally felt this burden roll off my back, but one day about 7 years later I realized that Psalm 88 was followed by the promise of Psalm 89:

    Psalm 89
    I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.
    2 For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.​

    Then shortly thereafter this Psalm dawned in my heart:

    Psalm 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.​

    My advice for those who are thus afflicted: Don't curse God (I never did), or get angry with Him (didn't do that either because I knew I deserved it and more), He has His reasons for doing this. Trust Him. Don't hurt yourself and make matters worst.​

    There were several passages which afforded me some comfort:​

    Psalm 103
    9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
    10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
    11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
    12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
    13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
    14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
    15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
    16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
    17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;​

    Lamentations 3
    31 For the Lord will not cast off for ever:
    32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.
    33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.​

    HankD​
     
    #2 HankD, Dec 16, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
  3. zrs6v4

    zrs6v4
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    thanks for the reply and testimony. I think it is powerful. A few people I know and I also went through some times similar but not as deep as yours. I don't understand why God chooses to do these things in certain cases, but the fruit of them are greater than anything. When I was in this sort of state I can say that I also knew that God was with me, but I didnt have any idea God even worked in this way. I had some bad counsels that were pretty shallow and only made things worse in my opinion, but I do think the truth of continuing to trust in and not blame the Lord is so vital, even being openly honest with Him. Our relationship with Him can be greatly strengthened through these afflictions. Continuing to entrust ourselves to Him is the only answer, and laying in the path of His grace. I do think He is always faithful and delivers at the proper time.
     
  4. HankD

    HankD
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    Without this experience I have no idea what state of being I would be in right now. If I had my choice I would not have chosen to experience it. However if it was the Lord's will then of course I would.

    It did seem that the world had more care and concern for me than the world of believers but I can hardly blame them for that. I had been to Bible college, ordained, was an assistant pastor, preached, etc. Then suddenly I am suicidal, in the hospital diagnosed with psychotic depression. There was no overt sin, at least then there would be a reason to hang it on.

    Not your run-of-the-mill testimony (if one can call it such).

    Nonetheless He delivered me...

    Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
    2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
    3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

    HankD​
     
  5. zrs6v4

    zrs6v4
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    I dont want to come across naive about your situation, but I am sure I have no idea the kind of pain and confusion that were involved. I think God has a lot of incredible plans with believers who go through this kind of thing. Are you a counselor or anything now?

    I bet you can relate and share in suffering with people that nobody else can. This is an awesome thing if loving people and forgiving are really 2 key elements in the Christian life. I just recently (as of 12 hours ago) had a friend who I went on missions with and who worked in ministry tell me unexpectedly that they deal with wanting suicide and struggling with depression and cutting. They dont know how to deal with it and the main question is how can God allow this to happen. I am very hurt to know that this person is openly saying that they dont really call themselves a Christian and now except the false assumption that God is false based on His allowing terrible things to happen to people (both Christians and non).
     
  6. HankD

    HankD
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    You talked earlier about bad advice. That is because this is so rare a spiritual disease. And when it does appear Christians shrink away from those who are bowed down under it because they don’t understand that it is from God - at least by his permission.


    The worst advice people tried to give me was to “snap out of it” or “stop moping around” or “talk to people” etc… as if I or anyone who is suffering from the what Psalm 88 calls mahalath leannoth,(Hebrew – a Psalm to those “afflicted with the sickness”) had some sort of control over it.
    Look at the some of the verses.

    6 Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.
    8 Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.
    18 Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.

    Spend as much time as possible with your friend. Just be there with him/her, don’t give them any advice, just be there. Make sure they know you love them and that God still loves them (if they will hear it). If appropriate hold their hand.

    There was a nurse (not a believer) who held my hand when I was in the pit, and it helped considerably.

    That is to be expected…


    15 I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.

    The presence of a sympathetic (but not condemning person) will keep him/her from hurting themselves.

    Sometimes spiritual music helps but be careful it doesn’t make them feel worse.

    Don’t be hurt and don’t pay any attention to this.

    It will pass if your friend endures to the end of the “sickness”.

    Here is the time to give them an admonishment by reminding them of the agony that Jesus Christ suffered for the redemption of the human race. No one has suffered as He has and He understands what it is like being “cut off” from God.

    He’s been where your friend is and even worse “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

    Physically speaking what could be worse than a betrayal and death by crucifixion after a scourging that was so bad He was unrecognizable?

    Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

    If your friend endures with patience, sooner or later he/she will begin to call upon the Lord. Just be there without condemning.

    When and if you see tears and weeping, the healing has begun.

    My opinion is that this affliction (when it happens) seems to be a post-salvation conviction/reproval of sin. Perhaps for the following reason (or so it seemed in my life):

    John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
    2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

    8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
    9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

    The fruit of the Spirit is love…
    There is no joy greater than the joy of "restored" salvation.

    HankD
     
  7. zrs6v4

    zrs6v4
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    Yea this really helps me to understand how to be there for her. I think you are right that biblical counseling is not merely shouting out a verse and expecting a instantaneous miracle or simply saying "whats your problem?" then... "Stop it". I think counseling clearly pours out from a brotherly love and sharing in struggles or as you put it, just being there. I do feel led away from the counseling scenario, as in many cases. I also feel like the modern day labeling of things or spiritual cases is sometimes binding on people in a sense that makes them feel like the only one with this struggle. I do have one last question for advice. How could I best offer up help or to be there for her without actually hinting that I am trying to intercede and play doctor with some sort of agenda? I planned on just seeing if she wants to hang out with some friends and I sometime and trying to not force the situation until the the opportuned time, hopefully she brings it up. I fear hanging out with her alone because I dont want to turn this thing into another mess or whatever. Anyway you may or may not be able to answer my question, but I do greatly appreciate your replies.
     
  8. HankD

    HankD
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    People in this condition forget about the mundane things of life. Maybe you could offer to help clean the house and tell the truth "I want to help because I know you're feeling badly and I'd love to do it".

    If it's inappropriate to be alone with her then bring a friend (someone she knows and trusts and someone who won't start "harping" on her).

    She needs human warmth and affection, that made a really big difference in my case, especially when there was no "advice".

    One word of caution, if there are serious suicidal tendancies then for her own protection she will need some kind of professional intervention to keep her from harming herself. It can happen.

    My wife had me admitted to a hospital with 24/7 observation.
    I was also drugged into oblivion by the medical staff.


    HankD
     
  9. Aaron

    Aaron
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    The Psalms are the prayers of Christ's Spirit. There is not an aspect of the human experience that is not touched upon in them. There are many that cannot be appreciated unless one has suffered with Christ, and there are many that cannot be appreciated until one has truly faced and felt the crushing load of his sin.

    The fact that Christ was touched with the feeling of our weaknesses is revealed in the Psalms, and Spurgeon rightly called them a "Treasury."
     

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