A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.3Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in yourname I will lift up my hands.5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,6 when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
I have a confession to make. I have not always been a huge fan of Psalm 42:5. “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.” This is in part because it has always felt a little like an accidental weapon people use when someone is hurting. It’s kind of like saying, “Be well, be happy, put your hope in God.” Not particularly helpful. The other reason is due to the happy worship song of the same words. When my soul is downcast, happy little worship songs are (again) seriously not helpful.
The Word of God never changes, but I do. Each new season of life brings a new perspective and a different understanding to the Bible. In this light, I have had occasion to revisit this Psalm, spend some time considering these verses, and gain a new appreciation for them. This morning, I wrote them out in my own words and John thought I should share them here. They are not a translation or even a paraphrase but more like C.S. Lewis’ “supposal” of what these words might look like played out in my life. It is our hope that they may be of encouragement to someone.
Psalm 42:1-6 (Revisited)
I remember when it was not like this; when I delighted in the Lord and in the fellowship of His people. I remember the deep satisfaction and joy in using my gifts to serve Him and the holy moments when it was not me, but Him working through me to touch the life of another person. I remember those times and I long to return to them. I am so thirsty for joy. But instead of joy, I drink my own salty tears that were not invited or welcome and only make me thirst more for the joy I had in Him. They sap me of my strength when I long to be filled with His power. but even now, this I know to be true. I will yet again praise Him. This too, shall pass. This season of grief is not welcome but it is just a season and it will in time come to an end. While I am waiting, I will remember God’s faithfulness and put my hope in Him.