God’s word is an armory with defenses and weapons for every kind of occasion. Just like your gun safe has things you never want to use in anger, God’s revelation has equipment for dark (Amos 8:9) and evil days (Eph. 6:13) that we hope never come—but eventually do.
Ps. 88 is never listed as anyone’s favorite Bible reading. It’s the song of one whose, “Soul has had enough troubles, Forsaken…Whom You remember no more.” (v. 3-5) The one who asks, “Lord, why do you reject me? Why do you hide…?” saying, “I suffer…I am desperate. You have distanced loved one and neighbor from me; darkness is my only friend.” (vs. 14-18) Yes, “Hello, darkness my old friend,” indeed.
We need to know how to react in faith in dark times of difficulty and tragedy. When injuries, long-term illnesses beset us. When our spouses, parents or children are given a terminal diagnosis. When there’s separation, longing, and loneliness. or depression, despairing, and bereavement. These come in life. And God’s word has the answer.
Just like I’m glad to know that in the event of a water landing, my airplane seat can be used as a floatation device, I’m glad to know such psalms are here. I pray I’ll never have to use them for real. But knowing how life is, I’m afraid some day, I just might. I’m also glad someone went over the emergency instructions ahead of time, even if I didn’t pay as much attention as I probably should have.