Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are
you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him,
the help of my countenance and my God.
- Psalm 42:11 (NKJV)
Asking me to choose my favorite Psalm is like asking me if I like cheesecake or donuts better.
And if you know me, you know that I love both those things. (And if we were getting dessert, 90% of the time I would recommend we get both at once.)
There are so many beautiful words and promises and truths tucked between the pages of this book of the Bible - the longest book in the Bible.
I could’ve chosen to talk about Psalm 23 and the wonderful truth that the Lord is my Shepherd and in all of the hurts I’m facing, He quiets and restores my soul. Or I could’ve reminded you of the truth from Psalm 27 that I have nothing to fear, for the Lord is my light and my salvation. Then there’s that beautiful passage in Psalm 119 that describes the value and wonder of the Word of God. And in Psalm 139, I’m reminded that I’m fearfully and wonderfully made.
I could go on and on as I remind you of all the beautiful passages of Scripture found in Psalms. But I have selected a Psalm to share with you that has not only been an anchor in my life this past year, but that has comforted me so deeply.
Psalm 42 was a passage of Scripture God directed me to in the middle of a season of drought in my life. Do you know how those feel?
The emptiness and loneliness of a desert. A hunger for God but the feeling that He is far off. The ache of loss and the desire for God to finally show up and make it all better. But it’s in these seasons of drought that our feelings seem to convince us He is not there.
Do you remember those seasons in your own life? That’s the season I was in. Right in the middle of my “Where are You, God? Why is this happening? Why do I feel this way?” I read that the Psalmist in chapter 42 felt that way too. If you have some time today, I would recommend you read the whole chapter for yourself.
One of the first things that jumped out to me about this passage was the raw honesty. Because, let’s be real for a minute. There is a whole lot of pressure for you and for me to be perfect--to keep it all together, to always keep our head up and hide away the painful, shameful places. When I looked at the Christians around me, they were quick to cover up their pain with an “Amen” and an extra “Hallelujah!”
But me? I struggled just to say “Praise God” with a smile when my heart felt broken and I couldn’t possibly understand what God was doing and why in the world He was allowing so many tears to fall from my eyes.
But this Psalm? This Psalm meets me right there in the middle of all those feelings and says “Yep, me too.” The Psalmist acknowledged his pain and acknowledged the tears he was crying and he even acknowledged that he felt God was very far away. Now those are feelings I can understand.
And then the question that changes everything...Why are you cast down, O my soul? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him.
The Psalmist isn’t denying the pain he feels in his season of drought. He fully recognizes what he feels like. But even there he declares that he won’t stay in that place because he realizes that his feelings don’t always hold the truth.
And the truth? He is still worthy of praise. Even here in the drought and the pain and the hurt, He is worthy and I can place all of my hope and trust in Him to pull me through this season. Because I’ve seen Him in seasons past and I’ve seen His faithfulness. He might feel far off, but I know He isn’t.
And that...that is worthy of a “praise God.” Not denying my pain. But recognizing that He is greater than my pain.
He’s greater than yours too.
1. When have you experienced a season of drought in your life and how did it make you feel?
2. How did you see God show up in that place?
3. How have you seen God show up faithfully for you in the past so that you can hold onto it in your present?
Thank You, God, for being my hope. Thank You for being with me in my seasons of drought, even when I don’t feel You near. Please help me to trust in You, even through the pain. You are always good. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
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