“As a deer pants for flowing streams so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God….Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God—for I shall again praise Him (who is) my Salvation and my God….My soul is cast down within me therefore I remember You.” (Ps 42:1-2 and 5-6a)
The Psalmist is good to read. He plumbs the depth of his heart and communicates transparently. Perhaps the pursuit of godliness starts with transparency? For sure it has a beginning in cultivating desire for the Presence…
I can identify with the Psalmist’s cries a lot. “Why are you downcast, soul?” Been there-quite a few times. Many times I shake the feeling off or figuratively “pull myself up by the bootstraps.” I want to “get my head straight.”
The thing I don’t realize often is that a reason I could be downcast in my soul is because I don’t hope in God.
That’s silly, isn’t it? I am a Christian because I hope in God and the Salvation found by faith in Christ. But I don’t think that this is the point of this Psalm.
Because we still have weakness in the flesh, despair, sadness, and feelings of loss can still be experienced. God is so good in showing that He recognizes it in the writing of the Psalms. Hopelessness is not a foreign concept for lovers of God.
What God does do for us is to show us the way out: “Hope in God…therefore I remember You.”
Cultivating remembrances. Cultivating memories. Cultivating hopelessness circuit breakers: As we pursue God these “circuit breakers” start to be formed. Working at installing these “circuit breakers” when things are going well makes when things aren’t so well they engage and Hope is Remembered.
What are things to do to get the circuit breakers installed? We are doing it here: Journaling. Another tool is fellowship and particularly biblical fellowship. Another (and one I want to point out) is singing-not singing for singing’s sake and not even especially songs that can be identified as Christian. I am referring to finding songs that feed the soul; that reinforce solid doctrine. Songs that are targeted to be sung to God. Here is what the Psalmist says:
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night His Song is with me. (Ps 42:8)
Suggestion: Work at “singing to the Lord a new song…” Why? “…for He has done wonderful things.”
Hey: take heart and don’t be discouraged. Rome wasn’t built in a day and the old man in us isn’t mortified easily. Be diligent and persist in going after the Prize.
Father: You are so good in Your love toward us. Only You could have devised the Plan of the Gospel. Only You would conceive of turning traitors into loyalists. Only You knew the Price and because of Your Love towards us and for Your Glory evermore-paid it. Paid it so that we, fallen men that we are, would be not only redeemed but adopted. Thanks, Dad of the Heavens. AMEN.