Psalms: the cry of the soul…

Cover to Cover

Reading: Psalms 39-44

Focus: Psalm 42-43

So many Christians struggle in times when they feel down, discouraged, or despondent. They think to themselves that they should never feel that way, that as Christians, these circumstances should be easily overcome. Yet the harsh reality is that our faith does not take away these struggles of the heart. In fact, they are heightened by our faith and we wrestle with these struggles even more, and like quicksand, we find ourselves sinking in our struggle.

In one of the beautiful psalms (Psalms 42-43, often considered one psalm) of the Sons of Korah, the struggles of the soul are echoed in these words. It reflects upon the faithful desire to pursue God in all His wonder, yet does not discount the reality that there are time when the soul is downcast. However, being a psalm, the Sons direct the worshipper to lift up their hands, in the lines which reflect upon the soul’s condition it is followed by lines of worship (the following stanza is repeated three times throughout this psalm):

Why are you downcast, O my soul?

  Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Saviour and my God.

The trap of our low-points is to continue to look down. I think of the multiple scenes of people climbing up the fire escape with a building on fire below them. “Don’t look down, don’t look down…!” We’re not all that different, even when things are going well, we have this hesitancy and look down at the raging fires of life below. Brothers, sisters, friends—look up! Look up! Our hope in God is not unfounded, we may doubt, we may struggle with God’s ways, but in the end, He will do what is right, He will uphold His Name, He will not allow dishonour to come upon His Name. My friends, look up!

Next Reading: Psalms 45-50