What discourages you? What happens when a run of bad days, events & circumstances invades your life? Do you run away, try various ways to escape or become depressed*? What encourages you? What helps you really feel better? What is it that you really want; at this moment?…out of life?
According to Psalm 42 our greatest need is derived from our relationship with Jesus. The psalmist starts with the phrase, “As the deer longs for streams of water, I long for you, O God.” David raises a great question for us, “What do we REALLY long for?” Following up we need to think about how that need can be met. In this Psalm David goes through a process of questioning God while at the same time reminding himself of what he has known to be true about God. To examine this we’ll start at the end of the Psalm and work our way to the beginning.
- David asks God why in verse 9. He wants to know why he feels as though God has forgotten him and why he needs to continue in grief and anguish. It’s OK to ask these questions.
- David affirms God’s love. He is discouraged. He is displaced from his comfort and security zone. He is mired in grief. In response David declares, “Each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me.”
- David sings & praises God. In verse eight he continues the thought of God’s daily love by declaring, “through each night I sing his songs and pray to the God who gives me life.”
- David recalls God’s truth. (verse 8) While he wonders why his heart continues to be so sad and why he remains discouraged he determines to put his hope in God and praise him. In this passage David not only declares that he praises God but he also refers to him as his Savior – the one who delivers him and sets him free.
- David remembers worshiping God…with others. (verse 4) David’s heart is breaking as he longs for the days of leading the procession of worshipers as they sang for joy with thanksgiving. No wonder the writer of Hebrews encouraged us to not forsake meeting with others to worship – it encourages our heart.
- David thirsts for God. We’ve come full circle. We’re back at the beginning with David declaring his need for God and his desire to stand before him. He simply wants to be in the presence of his God.
So, what is your greatest need? Is it something intimacy with God can fill?
NOTE: As I prepared for this talk I came across a blog post from CRM, an organization with ministries throughout the world. The article, Finding Your Way To Water In The Midst Of Soul Drought contains a link to The Broom Tree Exercise that helps you see how God is at work in your life.
* the reference here is not to clinical depression or any other medical condition – we’re talking about a somewhat prolonged sadness that makes sense based on life events.