A Lenten Journey: Climbing to the Cross – Day SEVENTEEN

Psalm 77, The Message

I yell out to my God, I yell with all my might, I yell at the top of my lungs. He listens.
I found myself in trouble and went looking for my Lord;
      my life was an open wound that wouldn’t heal.
   When friends said, “Everything will turn out all right,”
      I didn’t believe a word they said.
   I remember God—and shake my head.
      I bow my head—then wring my hands.
   I’m awake all night—not a wink of sleep;
      I can’t even say what’s bothering me.
   I go over the days one by one,
      I ponder the years gone by.
   I strum my lute all through the night,
      wondering how to get my life together.
Will the Lord walk off and leave us for good?
      Will he never smile again?
   Is his love worn threadbare?
      Has his salvation promise burned out?
   Has God forgotten his manners?
      Has he angrily stalked off and left us?
   “Just my luck,” I said. “The High God goes out of business
      just the moment I need him.”
Once again I’ll go over what God has done,
      lay out on the table the ancient wonders;
   I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished,
      and give a long, loving look at your acts.
O God! Your way is holy!
      No god is great like God!
   You’re the God who makes things happen;
      you showed everyone what you can do—
   You pulled your people out of the worst kind of trouble,
      rescued the children of Jacob and Joseph.
Ocean saw you in action, God,
      saw you and trembled with fear;
      Deep Ocean was scared to death.
   Clouds belched buckets of rain,
      Sky exploded with thunder,
      your arrows flashing this way and that.
   From Whirlwind came your thundering voice,
      Lightning exposed the world,
      Earth reeled and rocked.
   You strode right through Ocean,
      walked straight through roaring Ocean,
      but nobody saw you come or go.
Hidden in the hands of Moses and Aaron,
   You led your people like a flock of sheep.

Oh. My. Goodness. 

I LOVE what Peterson has done with this wonderful cry of angst, this journeyman’s rage against the Machine. 

The psalmist is caught. 

     Feels trapped. 



And where does he vent all that emotion? 

“Just my luck, the High God goes out of business just the moment I need him.” 

He lets GOD have it

And can I tell you how much I love, love, LOVE this?? 

There is nowhere better to go with all that we are feeling than directly into the presence of God. 

Sometimes I think those of us who grew up in the church may be at a distinct disadvantage with this truth. Many well-meaning Sunday school teachers – and even some parents here and there – raised us to believe that ‘nice’ boys and girls don’t get angry. And most certainly, they don’t get angry at God! 

Yet, as I read the psalms,
     as I look at some of the vignettes in the life of Jesus,
I scratch my head at this sad truth. 

Clearly, anger 
     – in and of itself – 
is neither unknown nor unwelcome, 
          in our scripture, 
               or to our God. 

It’s what we DO with the anger that adds moral weight, isn’t it? 

And what the psalmist does here is just…well, wonderful. 

He vents it in God’s direction – honestly, fully.
And then…
     he remembers where he and God have been together,
     he remembers where his people and God have been together,
     he remembers that God is God –
and he…is not

And that last line?

“Hidden in the hands of Moses and Aaron, You guided your people like a flock of sheep.” 

This mighty God, the one the psalmist has been remembering,

     this striding God, 
          voice like a whirlwind, 
              a figure so terrifying that the ocean itself trembles in fear – 
this God ‘hides’ in the hands of people like Moses and Aaron, like you and like me in order to work God’s way in the world he has made. 

Remarkable. Just remarkable. 


O Lord, help me to remember that ALL of what I am feeling is seen and welcomed. Remind me that you cannot be overwhelmed or disgusted by my struggles, that you invite me to be more real with you than with anyone else. Help me to exhaust all of it right here — and then — help me to turn my energies to remembering and re-telling your story with me, my story with you. Thank you for giving me the gift of an emotional life – help me to steward it well.


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  1. I love the angry psalms, and I had not seen this one in the Message. So poignant!  I did not sleep well last night. I turned to a particular episode of a podcast I’ve listened to probably 20 times, heard something new, and went to sleep. 

  2. Diana Trautwein says

    Maybe you need to write an angry psalm that moves to something you’ve heard in that podcast. Share the wealth! Thanks for stopping by, Megan. I’m always so happy to see you here.