A Wealth of Welch on the Psalms

Counselor Ed Welch's material has gems of truth about the Psalms scattered throughout his books.  Here are some of my favorite truths from some of his books.

Running Scared, page 39.

The psalmists invite you into perilous situations with them. They have real questions about whether or not they will be alive tomorrow. Their situations are probably more extreme than our own, but the psalmists rarely mention the specifics because they don’t want the details of their personal stories to bar us from entering in with our own. Instead, they invite us to participate whenever possible. They are choirmasters who want us to join them in their chorus to the Lord.

The psalmists recount times when they had enemies who hunted and maligned them. To join in, we could insert our own experiences of being wounded by critical or hateful comments. We might incorporate stories about past abuse and victimization. Have you ever thought your life was hanging in the balance? You could bring that into the psalm.

Depression:  Looking Up From the Stubborn Darkness

"God might feel far away, but our feelings mislead us on this one. Scripture is filled with promises of God’s presence with his people. Do you want evidence? God speaks to us and desires to be spoken to. Only someone close can do such things. He speaks to us, especially through Scripture, and he calls us to speak with him. When we are tongue-tied, he actually gives us words to say. Yet it is not a script that he gives us. When we speak from a script, we are pretending. We wear the mask of another. We become actors...Instead, God gives us poetry that, somehow, gives voice to the silences in our hearts. If we had the skill and the words, we would write many of those same words. The Psalms are where you find many of these poems. They are God’s liturgy, prepared for you in advance" (Kindle 754-762).

"When you hear the words of Psalm 22, 'My God, why have you forsaken me?' you might think about your own experience. Depression feels like being forsaken. But you also remember that these were Jesus’ words on the cross. They point to the fact that when you read these liturgical prayers , you are not alone. David composed many of them, the Israelites sang them, the church has recited them, and they all point to Jesus. Ultimately, they are all his songs, and you are being taught to sing with him. Jesus is the Divine Singer, and now the songs of the Son of God have been given as gifts to the children of God. What these psalms do is straighten the trajectory of our lives. Using the words he gives us, God gently turns our hearts toward him. Instead of everything bending back into ourselves, we are able to look straight, outside of ourselves, and fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12: 2)" (Kindle 785-792).

"As you say the Psalms and remember that Jesus said them first, you will gradually find your focus changing" (795).

"Hope, as you will find, is a skill that takes practice. There is no verse, pill, or possession that will make it magically appear. Reciting psalms that you have claimed as your own is part of that practice" (811).

"Faith feels many different ways. It can be buoyant; it can be depressed and lifeless. Feelings don’t define faith. Instead, faith is simply turning to the Lord. When you speak the psalms, you are “doing” faith. And remember that faith is the work of the Spirit of God in our hearts. As such, if you can speak psalms, God is near" (819-821).