One of the particular riches that is ours through having
the book of Psalms in the Bible is that it is such a deep and searching
manual of Christian experience. All spiritual life is there. From the
rapturous heights to the despairing depths, the various ups and downs
of our life in Christ from day to day are carefully and faithfully
detailed – and this in the real (not fake) experience of the
Here is just one example. In Psalm 38:6, David utters this very solemn
testimony: ‘I go mourning all the day long’. He is
speaking, surely, in a spiritual sense. He is not meaning to tell us
that he finds the whole of life itself miserable. Rather he is
affirming something that several Bible characters were very aware of,
and which many of our Christian forefathers knew a great deal about
also, but which often is conspicuously lacking in our own day: a deeply
felt heaviness and grief over (in particular) personal and corporate
sin, the depravity of the heart, the state of the church, the
godlessness of the world and the lack of glory given to God.
Such ‘mourning’ is in great need of recovery. This
Christian generation is, by and large, a very long way from it. We need
to ‘get back’ to it. Yet, even having said that, we need to
be careful not to go into ‘overbalance’, lest we end up
utterly overwhelmed or completely in despair. Let me express what I
mean in the following way.
We need to mourn over our sins and the hardness and
corruptions of our hearts: yet not so as to forget that the blood of
Jesus goes on cleansing us from all sin.
We need to mourn over the coolness of our affections
and our lack of spiritual fervency and desire for God: yet not so as to
forget that the Holy Spirit is promised as the quickener and sustainer
of our souls, he who strengthens us in our inner being.
We need to mourn over the hiding of God’s face
to such an extent at the present time: yet not so as to forget that he
who has visited his people in the past may be pleaded with to do so
We need to mourn over the rejection of God’s
law in the world (and, often, in the church): yet not so as to forget
that he who is jealous for his own name and glory will yet arise in
righteousness and judgment.
Let these few examples suffice. Certainly the danger facing us
currently is not that of an over-indulgence of ‘mourning’.
As said above, we need a recovery of it. But may that recovery always
maintain a proper biblical balance, which owns up to all that needs
mourning over, but looks to God alone for the remedy. Only he –
with the comforts and the promises of his Word - can do us any good!