“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.”

Psalm 42:5

From Carly,

During the writing of Psalm 42, most believe it was the time of Absalom’s rebellion, and David, the potential author, was facing the consequences. David’s enemies persecuted him, spitting lies and forcing doubt into every area of David’s life.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to dehumanize the “heroes” of the Bible. I think they’re better than me. No temptations, no mistakes. The perfect example to live by.

I may be right about one thing. They’re a great example of how we should live. Though David lived many years devoted to the Lord, seeking and serving wholeheartedly, he also went though seasons of doubt, fatigue, grief, and sin.

The wonderful thing about tragedy is that what results from such mess, turns out to be the most beautiful story of healing and spiritual maturity. You’ve heard it before. The Lord puts us through trials to come out the other end changed. Of course, as Christians we know this, but no one is battling for the first spot in line to face impending tragedy and persecution. Tragedy doesn’t just come and go in a weekend, it usually doesn’t even stay for a week. When faced with such important trials, they can rule your entire life, wreck your worldview, causing doubt and fear to fester.

At the time, David was facing such oppression and desperation, that doubt began to win.

“My tears have been my food day and night, While they say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?'”

Psalm 42:3

He was questioning whether the Lord was with him or not, whether he would come out of this situation sustained with the life-breathing hope and salvation he once had. I’m guessing we’ve all been in David’s position, or a similar circumstance, at one point in our lives. We always pay attention to the aftermath of such devastation, but what matters most to our God, is how we handle things during the oppression. 

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”

Psalm 42:1-2 

David thirsted, hungered, longed for the Lord. To be near Him, to be healed by His presence. This is how he dealt with his grief. Though times were tough and nothing made sense, he knew the only way to get out meant full reliance on the Lord. Nothing more, nothing less.

Doubt can creep up, fear can envelope our soul. It’s what we do during those times that matters the most. Do we solely seek the Lord in our suffering, or do we cower in our misery and surrender to the pain?

“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.”

Psalm 42:11

What tenacity it took to realize his soul’s depravity. To repeat the very words he proclaimed previously. He commanded himself to place his hope and trust in the Lord once again. He vowed to praise his Savior and God. What an example. If David wrote this, we catch a glimpse of how entirely human he really is, not the perfect biblical hero without fault. David was just like you and me, faced with inexplicable tragedy during his short life. If he can resolve to hope in the Lord, to destroy his once-doubtful soul, then we can too. In fact, I encourage you to hunger and thirst for Jesus as much in peaceful times as you do in turmoil. May not only the aftermath, but also the time of oppression be what grows you, what causes you to lean on Him.