Psalm 42: 5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help 6 and my God…11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.
This entire psalm is wonderfully written, but these two verses particularly get my attention this morning. It’s as if there is a battle going on between David’s intellect and his soul. His head and his heart. The psalm makes clear that David is, once again, in distress. He’s been waiting on the Lord to come to his rescue. Waiting. More waiting. And so as many are prone to do under pressure, David starts to get anxious on the inside – in his “soul”. Then he does something interesting. He starts speaking to his soul in the third person.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul…?”
Intellectually David knows he is in a covenant relationship with God who has protected him his entire life. He knows God will do so again, even if there is no sign of rescue at the moment. He knows he should relax in the face of pressure from his adversaries – but the heart doesn’t respond to logic. It’s more visceral, tending toward a fight/flight response than to cold examination of the facts. And so the back and forth continues.
I so resonate with this psalm. There are many times when I understand I’ve nothing to fear, but I am fearful anyway. I know I should trust, but instead I fret. I should rest, but instead I work as if everything depends on me. I should forgive, but instead I hold a grudge – convinced I am “right”. The list goes on.
And so this morning I am marinating in the simple phrase “Hope in God”. Not hope in me or another person or anything else. Hope in God. Lord, let it me so. Amen.