“When can I go and meet with God?... while men 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 with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving…Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God…By day he directs his love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life…Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by my enemy? My bones suffer…and my foes taunt me, ‘Where is your God?’…Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42.
This heartbreaking cry is written most likely by a member of the Korahites whose normal duties involved official activities performed in the temple. He was possibly writing after being carried off in an invasion of a foreign enemy. The deepest part of his soul (his inner love for God) wages war against his mind (his fears and doubts) and these words are the battleground. His emotions spike between feeling abandoned by God to reminding himself of God’s love and faithfulness. ‘All he can do is remember his past experiences with God, experiences of joy and thanksgiving. The psalmist talks to his soul and basically asks himself, ‘What’s the matter with you? Have you forgotten God – forgotten His promises, His faithfulness, His love and mercy?’ The Applied Old Testament Commentary, p. 859. We are witnessing one of the most important Christian principles for which we should live out our faith: Faith answering in response to our God questions and emotions.
Most Christians experience the spiritual highs of serving God, praising God, fellowship with God and enjoying God’s presence. Much like our psalmist, when we find ourselves in despair with challenging circumstances, we begin to question the when, why’s and where’s of God. We feel spiritually empty and emotionally distressed in our search for God. It is tougher to see God when our focus is on our circumstances instead of our Savior. The more we build our faith and spend time ‘in our temple with God’s dwelling’ the more likely our faith can convince us of the truths of our God. Faith speaks to our doubts and reminds us of whom God has been in the past for us. Faith reminds us of the love and faithfulness of God in our present situations both night and day. Faith calls out for a restoration of God’s presence within our hearts no matter what our situation may present. Faith lifts praise, not as a magic formula for overcoming despair but as a necessity to change our inner attitude from being self-centered to God-centered.
Note that the sufferer had to allow faith to speak over and over again. It is important to realize the normalcy of feelings that we have been abandoned. But, more important is the ability to give faith its voice so that when doubt calls out, ‘Where is my God?’ faith can answer.
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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