“I say to God, my rock: ‘Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?’” (Psalm 42:9)
The book of Psalms is very much like a collection of journal entries, each psalm illustrating a high or a low point in the author’s life. The emotions expressed in each one range from grief to joy, bitterness to hope, and many more. At some point in our lives, we can all relate to the majority of them. What’s interesting to me, though, is that the big theme in many of the psalms is distress. In one way or another, the author is in trouble, and he’s begging God to do something about his situation. Whether he’s sick, sitting in captivity, or running from enemies, the underlying feeling is one of helplessness and despair. He knows that he is in trouble, and the circumstances seem overwhelming.
This fascinates me because it shows that we all deal with troubling times. In fact, I’m confident that we’ve all been in situations like this. Though the exact details will differ from person to person, you’ve certainly been in places where everything just seems impossible. You probably wonder where exactly God is. He certainly doesn’t seem to be nearby. Has He really abandoned you this time? Has He left you to be swallowed up by the darkness? You can probably relate very well to this verse: “My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, ‘Where is your God?’” (Psalm 42:3) Everything around you looks bleak and hopeless, and there doesn’t seem to be any way out.
In times like this, it’s hard to be anything other than discouraged. But, even though everything may seem to contradict it, there is hope. When it feels like God has forsaken us, we can turn to His Word. He promises us hundreds of times that He will never leave us. He will not let the troubles in our lives dominate us. He is with us, even when it feels like He’s not. Because of that, we can hope in Him. No matter how horrible things are, God is still there, keeping us from being destroyed. If we keep hoping in Him, He will bring us to the place of abundance He has prepared for us. He promises that, and we can absolutely trust Him to keep that promise. Instead of despair, our new cry can be, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.” (Psalm 42:11)