JUNE 2

Read | Psalm 42

As the deer pants for streams of water,

    so my soul pants for you, my God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

    When can I go and meet with God?

My tears have been my food

    day and night,

while people say to me all day long,

    “Where is your God?”

These things I remember

    as I pour out my soul:

how I used to go to the house of God

    under the protection of the Mighty One

with shouts of joy and praise

    among the festive throng.

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.

My soul is downcast within me;

    therefore I will remember you

from the land of the Jordan,

    the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep

    in the roar of your waterfalls;

all your waves and breakers

    have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,

    at night his song is with me—

    a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock,

    “Why have you forgotten me?

Why must I go about mourning,

    oppressed by the enemy?”

My bones suffer mortal agony

    as my foes taunt me,

saying to me all day long,

    “Where is your God?”

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.

Respond | Zechariah Knepper

Psalms of lament were always a struggle for me growing up. It felt difficult to understand why some psalms were about such happy things yet others were so seemingly depressing. I had not yet allowed myself to understand, as it were, how difficult parts of life are not to be simply ignored and moved past. The psalmists, described as the Sons of Korah, write,

 

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?”

 

They are seeing their struggles and acknowledging that they exist and their souls are indeed downcast and disturbed. Yet they choose to give praise to God, saying

 

“Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” 

 

They stand within their struggles and choose to call out to God and give God praise despite what is going on around them. Even though they cry out to God in the midst of great affliction and enemy, even though they are brought low by circumstances around them that declare that God is not with them, they yet give praise to God. What does it mean today to stand and give praise to God amidst great struggle? In the mire of pandemic, economic downturn, and those everyday struggles that loom just as large, what does it mean to give God praise in spite of everything? I challenge you and myself to write out something you have been struggling with, acknowledge it just as the sons of Korah in this psalm do. Once it is written, hold that struggle in your hands and give praise to God, cry out to God, or simply meditate with the Spirit and allow God room to work in your life. I leave with the eighth verse of the psalm, one that I think may give room to meditate upon;

 

“By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.”

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