Today’s blog is a reflection on Psalm 42. You can find it in my book, “Dare to Call Him Friend.” published in 2015. As I write this introduction in October 2020, I am challenged by the words I wrote years ago. I realise that this morning, I started off my day without the essentials needed to stay above the circumstances that would come my way. I failed to immerse myself in His peace and I failed to clothe myself in the garments He provides for me. Righteousness, grace, and thanksgiving.
When I turned on my computer with a mug of coffee at hand, I was greeted by several messages and urgent prayer requests from people I know well.
Homelessness looms at the door of a friend, there are no jobs in his area due to the pandemic. Another friend’s housemate is selling her home and moving away. As a result, my friend must find a room in a tight market with high rents on a limited income.
A friend’s son battles for freedom from mental illness as the system lets him down again and again. He desperately needs a miracle; the fact he is still on this earth is a testament of his inner strength and God’s sustaining power.
Although I have made it a practice of late to not listen to the news and only to read the headlines, even a brief skim of those headlines allows anxiety and fear to press in if I am not careful to turn my focus on God.
And so, this morning I will do exactly that, Focus on God. It will be a sabbatical. As soon as I edit this blog, I will be turning on worship music, and I will allow myself the luxury of reading whatever I want to read in my Bible. I will feast on His goodness; I will remind myself of who the Victor is. I will exhort my soul to be mindful of where its provision comes from. I will rest, but even in that rest, I will war. I will tear down the mental stronghold of hopelessness as I dwell an intentional focus of His peaceful, restful presence today. Dig out your Bible, turn to Psalm 42 and come, join me.
A Reflection on Psalm 42
Psalm 42:1-2 – 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?
I long to live in God’s presence. Within that longing, there is a painful recognition that I am unable to stay in His presence without His strength. I thirst, and yet I fear to draw near to the Living Water that can quench my terrible thirst. But I know I must draw near, as there is no other source but Him.
Psalm 42:4 – These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.
I remember the joyful confidence and the reckless abandonment from which I would fling myself – heart first, head second – into worship and intimacy with the Lord. It never occurred to me that He wouldn’t catch me when I leapt into His arms. I only had to jump. I remember dancing in the rain, soaked to the skin, with a hundred other Jesus adorers, not caring what others thought. My eyes were fixed on Someone I could not see with my earthly eyes, but my heart instantly recognized my Beloved from afar.
Psalm 42:5-6a – Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you.
God has proven Himself faithful. I could fill a dozen journals with answers to prayer. I am profoundly grateful, and yet I long for more. I am not satisfied with His mere provision, I long for His presence.
Psalm 42:7 – Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.
Even in this arid land, I breathe a song of worship as I drift to sleep, and He joins His song with mine, tenderly watching over me.
Psalm 42:8-9a – By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
I am not satisfied with a surface relationship and I don’t want to be just an admirer of His ways. I want to be intimately acquainted with Him. His voice calls to my inner self, and I respond from that deep place within me. He submerges me under His waterfall, saturating every cell of my being with His grace.
Psalm 42:11 – Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
When my soul is tempted to believe the lies that my temporal circumstances whisper to my heart, I focus on my Beloved’s voice until His voice drowns out all other voices but His own. My hope is not only in Him; my hope is Him. I praise Him because He is good, and I praise Him for His empowering grace. I praise Him because He is worthy of my unconditional surrender and trust.
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
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Until Next Week,
©2020 Katherine Walden