Daily D – 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. (NIV)
Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God! (NLT)
Sometimes I need a good talking to. The best way I have found to talk to myself is with words of truth and life. The psalms in particular teach me how to talk to God and to myself.
This psalm is one of the most beloved in this book full of soaring praise and deepest grief. The television show House of Cards included the woman who succeeded her husband as president talking to another woman about his funeral. The new president mentioned this psalm was the Bible reading and the other woman declared this was a good selection indeed.
My favorite part of the psalm is the verse above, particularly as rendered in the New Living Translation.
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!
These words of hope, of confident trust in a better future, stand closely akin to Romans 8:28. Let us acknowledge Proverbs 25:20 here as well. The Message communicates this parallel truth vibrantly.
Deep in the depths of despair, in a moment of loss, is not the time to sing happy songs. It is not time to point people toward praise and thanksgiving. It is not time to remind a person all things work together for good.
Because we know the end of the story and how it is the best of all goodness, we can lean into the future with hope. We must, however, honestly confront deep loss and how it wounds. We must deeply feel our feelings. We must grieve. There is something healing about tears. They most honestly express our pain. They most visibly communicate how much emotional heaviness hurts.
Tears also have a way of putting steel in our spines. They help us stand tall again. They help us say with King David, “I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!”
They help us stand on the sure foundation of Paul’s declaration, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” (Romans 8:28).
They help us return to a place of praise and thanksgiving far richer than any we have previously known as perspective helps us see and feel and experience what we never have before.
There is a widening in our souls where we have met significant loss and discovered God’s healing grace. There comes a time when we look back with appreciation for the unseen hand of God guiding us through the stages of grief. There comes a time when, because we looked back in honesty, we can look forward with anticipation of joy’s return.
Sing happy songs as often as you are able. Set them aside for a season when great loss consumes moments and days and lingers into a season we will never forget.
Listen to The Message again, this time from Psalm 56:8:
Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.
Our Father in heaven is intimately acquainted with our praise, thanksgiving, and tears. Each is precious to him. I am confident the most precious is the clear bottle of our tears because of how it declares our deepest understanding of what matters most.
I will sing happy songs again, but first, I will talk to God, talk to myself, and weep away my loss.
Our Father, thank you for preserving these words for the last three thousand years so that we can use them today to give meaning to this time and place. These moments reveal your kindness and compassion. These truths give perspective. These words remind us how the life you give endures and the love you bestow wins. Amen.
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2 Chronicles 35:25 Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments. (NIV)
2 Chronicles 33:15, 16 He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the Lord, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city. Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed fellowship offerings and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel.
Matthew 3:8 “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
2 Kings 20:2, 3 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
Isaiah 65:24 “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”