Thus, it would appear that living with prolonged despair or hopelessness can be a real experience for a believer as wise and sincere as Heman (cf. 1 Kgs. 4:31). The Lord - Heman's Lord - can and does leave his own in experiences in which they despair of life itself. He can and does remain silent to cries when life is so bad that even our friends desert us. Still he invites us to come to him asking, seeking, and knocking for answers to our prayers, and to pray to him without ceasing, confidently, for grace and help in our times of need (cf. Mt. 7:7; 1 Thess. 5:17; Heb. 4:16).

Our God can offer this invitation in his goodness because he has experienced the very despair we experience. Christ, who had perfect fellowship with the Father, (unlike the fellowship we have that is marred by our sins), was cut off from fellowship with the Father on the Cross. In three short hours Christ experienced more distance from the Father than we could experience if the Lord prolonged our despair from our youth into late adulthood (cf. Mt. 27:45). The Lord's friends too deserted him, and he embraced the dark pain of the sins of humankind alone. For Christ and for us, God has done wonders beyond the grave by raising Christ from the dead. That same God can do wondrous things when despair is our only song. Psalm 88 reminds us that he has heard that song before from Heman and the choirs of Israel, and he will hear it from many whom he will save. 

Eric C. Redmond is Executive Pastoral Assistant and Bible Professor in Residence at Ne Canaan Baptist Church , Washington, DC.