Isn’t it amazing how the Bible talks about the soul? Scripture not only portrays what the successful, victorious and satisfied life feels like, but God’s Word also offers many examples of people who battle for their faith and grow weary.
In this psalm the songwriter longs deeply for God. Taunted by his enemies, his soul knows deep despair and turmoil. But rather than caving in to the flood of adversity, the desperate follower cries out to God. How does he wage this battle?
First, the songwriter honestly expresses his feelings to God. Rather than denying his pain, he pours out his soul (see Psalm 42:4) and brings his frustration and sense of abandonment to God (see verse 9). Second, he engages his own memory. The songwriter recalls blessed times of worship with the people of God (see verse 4), and—more significantly—he remembers God himself (see verse 6). Third, the songwriter talks to himself. Or, perhaps more accurately, he addresses his own soul. He repeats the refrain: “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:11). Although his adversaries taunt him and continually tell him lies, the psalmist aggressively counters their negative slurs with his own message of hope in God.
Finally, note that the songwriter wrote about his struggles. The fact that his words still exist today indicates that he battled for his soul by giving expression to his grief and hope.
If you’re engaged in a battle to make your faith real and are growing tired of the conflict, don’t give up the fight. Long for God. Thirst for him. If you feel comfortable doing so, record your struggles on paper or in a file on your computer. When you pursue God, Scripture promises that you’ll find him. Pray for God to flood your soul with relief. And don’t forget to challenge yourself in the same manner of the psalmist in Psalm 42:611.
To Take Away
Do you ever long for God so much that you feel yourself dying of thirst to experience his presence and refreshment?
Have you ever “preached” to your own soul? If you were to do so now, what would you say to yourself?
When have you sensed relief from your thirst for God? How can you repeat that experience?