Quite a few Psalms contain strong passionate words that don’t seem to relate to our day to day life experience.
For example, the writer of Psalm 42 said;
As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?(Psalm 42:1-2 NLT)
Beautiful poetic passionate words. But are they real or sentimental. Does he really feel that way?
For the longest while, maybe twenty years or so, I was a sincere earnest prayer person, but I never personally experienced anywhere near that kind of passion in my prayers.
Consequently I was never able to fully relate to such words. That is, until trouble showed up in my life and I became somewhat desperate for answers from God; desperate for Him to step into my space and help me.
The writer of Psalm 42’s life had apparently hit rock bottom. He was depressed, discouraged and desperate. In addition to that he was being hassled and mocked daily for his trust in God.
He reflected on times past when he was happy. He recalled memories of pilgrimage to the festivals in Jerusalem, and the times of intense worship and rejoicing that took place there. He yearned with all of his heart to, as he puts it, go and stand before God once more. He yearned, as a deer yearns for water, to have those worship experiences again.
The writer was heartbroken over the setbacks that life had brought him. Having nothing but tears for food night and day suggests some serious financial hardships. I can feel his passion and pain as I read the words;
“O God my rock,” I cry, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?” Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Saviour and my God!(Psalm 42:9,11 NLT)
He may have lost his resources, lost his joy of life, lost whatever prestige he had in his community, but he had not lost his hope in God.
I can now totally understand this. I understand his pain. The hardships I encountered deepened my personal sense of being and matured me as no happy times could have done.
Apostle Paul said it well. He said;
We are full of joy even when we suffer. We know that our suffering gives us the strength to go on. The strength to go on produces character. Character produces hope. And hope will never bring us shame. That’s because God’s love has been poured into our hearts.(Romans 5:3-5 NIRV)
Embrace the words of Hope that lift and encourages us
God gives us hope. He is the God of hope. So we can embrace the words that King David wrote and let them lift and encourage us.
King David wrote;
Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favour lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.(Psalm 30:4-5 NLT)