When I first recognized that the Psalms were not nearly as “tidy” as I’d imagined—but were immensely human and raw—it opened up new ways for me to encounter God. While the Psalms provide us with words to express robust conviction, they also give us words—and permission—to express our doubts. When a child dies or a parent leaves or God seems a million miles away, the Psalms teach us how to gather our fears (not ignore them) and carry them to God.

The opening line of Psalm 25 exudes confidence: “O Lord, I give my life to you. I trust in you, my God!” (Psalm 25:1). This psalm is a prayer, with lines addressed directly to the Creator of the universe. Here David casts his every hope on God. He hands over his life to Him, without hesitation. He trusts in God without reservation.

In the very next breath, however, his resolve falters. “Do not let me be disgraced, or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat,” David prays (Psalm 25:2). Then, only a few lines later: “Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love” (Psalm 25:6). We hear the ache in his trembling voice: Don’t forget Your kindness, God. Don’t forget Your love. Don’t forget me.

In times of trouble, all of our doubts concerning God’s power and goodness invade our wilting heart. Like the psalmist, we fear that maybe God will allow us to drown in shame, maybe God will allow our enemies to get away with evil, maybe God will refuse to enact justice, maybe God will forget grace and love.

Overwhelmed by these fears, the psalmist didn’t deny them but rather took them to God. He prayed. The problem with our doubts is not the doubts, but how they tempt us to turn away from the One who is more powerful than our fears and disbelief.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: John 9:1-41