If you were to look in several of my Bibles (yes, I confess, I’m a bit of a Bible-geek), you would see notes and markings and underlines in Psalm 42-43.
I’ve spent some considerable time there, over the years.
And I need to keep coming back, for the reminders of what God is teaching there.
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, ‘Where is your God?’ Psalm 42:1-3
A deer does not pant for flowing streams in a well-watered meadow with an abundance of food and water. A deer only pants in extreme thirst and stress. A deer only pants when hope of water is gone. If a deer can see water, a deer will go to the water and quench its thirst.
My soul “thirsts for God” when hope is melting away. When tears have been my food day and night. When life looks bleak, and when I think the pain will never end.
The psalmist “remembers,” to bring himself out of despair, and so must I.
He remembers the past blessing
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul, how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. Psalm 42:4
My life has not always looked like it looks now. There have been times of celebration, fellowship with friends, “happy times.” And, to reiterate what I have been learning this month, the “remembering” of these times of celebration are just a glimpse of the eternal and lasting celebration that heaven will be. I can “remember” to look forward.
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, my salvation and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you . . . Psalm 42:5-6
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and 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 do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”. . .my adversaries taunt me. . .Psalm 42:8-10
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, my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:11
When I feel misunderstood — remember God’s steadfast love.
When I feel minimized and invisible — remember God’s faithfulness and love for me.
When I feel despondent and think that “this” will never end — remember that even if “this” lasts until my final breath, heaven is forever and heaven will be wonderful!
Hope — what an incredible gift God gives! And I am so grateful . . .