Day 04: Psalm 42

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
These things I remember as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?”
My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Psalm 42 (NIV)

I have a dear friend whose wife was terminally ill with cancer.  We can all imagine, many from experience, the strong emotions and many questions that overwhelm us at times like this. I remember he told me that during that time the only thing he could do was praise God.  At first this seemed like a really odd response, and yet this is what we find the psalmist experiencing in today’s reading.  He is facing great discouragement and even depression. If you have ever experienced times like this then you know the struggle that takes place within us.  Our feelings may tell us one thing and our thoughts tell us something else; a battle ensues between our heads and our hearts.

Notice some of the psalmist’s words: “Tears have been my food day and night.” “My soul is downcast within me.” “My bones suffer mortal agony.” During times of discouragement it is difficult to reason our way through all the emotions. Our head tells us there are people who love us, and yet our heart tells us we are all alone.  Twice in this chapter a question comes out of this wrestling match: “Where is your God?”  Both times the response is the same: “For I will yet praise him.”  Just like my dear friend, the psalmist’s response is to lift his hands and praise God.  He allows his head to remind his heart the truth that he knows about God.  God is trustworthy, He provides rescue, and His love is constant.  Speaking these truths is like laying down large stones in the river of emotion that allow us to finally cross to the other side.  

Justin Lewis, Facilities Director and Pastor to Young Adults

Brad Taylor