What startled me over and over in so many of the psalms is the emotional contrast. First there’s often a lament, not sugar-coated or minimized, not swept away or judged. Instead, the suffering is eloquently described. For example, the early lines of Psalm 69: “I am wearied with crying out, my throat is sore.” Guilt, shame, reproach, and bitterness follow. Then, a but appears. “But I lift up this prayer to thee.” Over and over I found these sudden reversals. How did they make sense? After a few months of a daily morning practice, I understood the pattern. I would read many lines of anguish. Once the painful truths are expressed, in detail, not rushed, there’s a sense of being deeply heard and listened to—heard by God. Once that internal, intimate ache is honored, we find space in our heavy hearts to move around. We can take that leap of faith and trust, again and again. What the psalms began to teach me is to stay true to my human grief, to articulate it, to bring the fear and frustration straight to God. By doing that, faith will appear, often suddenly, always the balm we have been seeking.
—from the book What Was Lost: Seeking Refuge in the Psalms
by Maureen O’Brien