Where in the Bible do you instinctively turn when life seems to be caving in on you?
I guess many of us would say ‘the Psalms’. Certainly that has been the response of Matt Searles and has given rise to this new devotional book which complements a CD of the same title produced last year.
I had the privilege of hearing Matt teach on the Psalms at the Ministry Training Course in Oxford. What struck me most at that time was the idea of being able to trace a progression through various Psalms which would lead from ‘lament’ to praise’. It is exactly this order which Matt uses from chapter 1, “Weeping may remain” (Psalm 30:5b) through to the final chapter, “Bright hope for tomorrow” (Psalm 138:7–9).
Each of the 34 chapters is short in length, but not in content. Halfway through the book, four chapters on Psalm 23 brought this familiar passage alive to me in a wonderfully fresh way. Anyone who is struggling to even open their Bible would find great reassurance here.
There is a refreshing honesty about the way Matt writes. He doesn’t disguise the fact that God has led him through some very dark valleys.
It is also obvious that this book has been written by a man with a pastoral heart that has been shaped, not just by ministry experience, but by personal time spent close to the cross.
This book (and CD) would make an ideal gift. As Matt says in the introduction, “In the Psalms, God graciously gives us words to pray back to him when our words fail”.