Feeling heard enables clarity, hope, and healing. Psalm 142 has the Psalmist shouting out to God. The Psalmist feels alone, ignored, and even threatened by others. And yet, the Psalmist finds release from despair by openly speaking to God.
Speaking to God is a spiritual practice. In counseling, I will ask people to write a letter to God to express what they are feeling. I began to use this technique over twenty-five years ago when a woman came to my office and said, “I am the treasurer of my children’s PTA. People have accused me of taking funds. I may be a poor bookkeeper, but I have never stolen.” I knew that she wanted my validation, but I did not know her or the facts so as to form an honest opinion. I said, “Please go into the sanctuary and write a letter to God describing your situation.” When she returned after fifteen minutes, we discussed how she felt about writing to God.
“Go back into the sanctuary,” I counseled, “and write spontaneously as if God is answering your letter.” When she returned, I immediately noticed her relaxed smile.
“I am fine,” she said. “God said that I am innocent of any theft. I am okay now. I can carry on with my head up.”
Psalms are our people’s letters to God, revealing vulnerabilities and often finding assurance and even the motivation to praise God.
Join me today for Psalm 142 at 9:30am, when we will honor my colleague and marriage and family counselor, Rabbi Richard Steinberg.