A few years ago, I was greeted at my door by two gentlemen of a different religious group than I belong to, who asked if I was aware of how much trouble and disaster there is in the world? Rather than respond peevishly, I agreed with their point and asked them what hope did they have to offer me, or anyone, in the midst of all the disasters – both personal and globally?”
This important question opens the door to important, deeper reflection. When you are low, to whom, or where do you turn? When you find yourself in a dark place, who or what brings light to your situation? The Psalms are a great place to find refuge. The Psalms reflect a healthy relationship with God. The psalmist thanks, praises and struggles with God to find answers. The psalmist cries to God from the dark place of fear, anguish, depression and confusion. In every case, it is clear that as the child of God pours his or her heart out, God hears, listens and moves – lifting the spirit of the psalmist.
Psalm 42 is particularly helpful. From a broken spirit, and a desolate place, the Psalmist “thirsts” for God. He remembers better times. He vividly describes his feeling that God has forgotten him. But, as he pours out his heart, the Lord speaks words of encouragement to “refill” it. Repeatedly, the writer proclaims: “I will put my hope in God. I will praise Him again!”. Although his situation seems unchanged, his heart is transformed. God is present and alive, and encourages the Psalmist in his despair.
A healthy Christian life and Christian character is not marked by a lack of hardship or difficulty. Rather, growth often happens in the hardship and the struggle where we are more apt to reach out to God, who meets us, and works in the life of His people.
The two gentlemen that I mentioned at the outset are right! There is so much stuff in this world and in our lives, if focused on, can put our outlook and spirit down in the dumps! But, thankfully, that is not where we are left. Jesus IS the only hope for this broken world.
Psalm 42 is an encouragement, it is also a challenge. The Psalms encourages us that we are not alone when we are discouraged. They also call us to put our hope in God, because hope in the Lord renews us, strengthens us and grows our relationship with Him, the author and the finisher.
So, the next time someone asks you or comments on how desperate and disastrous worldly situations are, perhaps you can use the opportunity to engage them and introduce them to Jesus who meets us in and brings good out of all the calamity that we face in this world.
In His Love,