Sometimes you can feel overwhelmed by all the things going on in your life. Anxiety, depression, worries. People who seem to make it their life’s goal to make yours a struggle. And as if that is not enough, you feel like God is nowhere near. It even seems like He is the One putting you through this.
‘Just like a deer that craves streams of water, my whole being craves you, God. My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God. When will I come and see God’s face? My tears have been my food both day and night, as people constantly questioned me, “Where’s your God now?” But I remember these things as I bare my soul: how I made my way to the mighty one’s abode, to God’s own house, with joyous shouts and thanksgiving songs— a huge crowd celebrating the festival! Why, I ask myself, are you so depressed? Why are you so upset inside? Hope in God! Because I will again give him thanks, my saving presence and my God. My whole being is depressed. That’s why I remember you from the land of Jordan and Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep called to deep at the noise of your waterfalls; all your massive waves surged over me. By day the LORD commands his faithful love; by night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. I will say to God, my solid rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I have to walk around, sad, oppressed by enemies?” With my bones crushed, my foes make fun of me, constantly questioning me: “Where’s your God now?” Why, I ask myself, are you so depressed? Why are you so upset inside? Hope in God! Because I will again give him thanks, my saving presence and my God.’
Psalms 42:1-11 CEB
Haunted like a deer
The writer of Psalm 42, presumably David son of Jesse, was feeling the same when he wrote this poem. He was being haunted by his enemies. He was hiding in the northern parts of Israel, where the Jordan river springs. Far from Jerusalem and the Temple where Gods presence dwelled. Like a deer, a hind thirsty for water, his soul thirsted for the presence of the LORD. His whole being thirsted for God.
Where is God in this?
He had always put his trust in God, and still he was on the run. His life was in danger.
“Where is your God now?” people asked him.
Though he did not know the answer, David choose to remember how he walked into the house of God, singing and celebrating His goodness. He poured out his soul and asked himself “Why are you so upset?” Because he knew that, even though he did not see Him then, he would see Him again. God was there. David might not have felt like praising then, but he would give thanks to the LORD for He is good.
But is seemed David was not only oppressed by people. He questioned his soul, but he also questioned God. God’s massive waves surged over him. When I was at the Banias waterfall in Israel, at the foot of Mount Hermon, I understood how impressed David must have been by the roaring sound of the water. Being on the run David was tossed around between places to hide, like a ship by the waves. He felt overtaken by the way God was going, by His power and majesty. Sometimes God uses the storms in our lives to teach us something. To keep us close to Him. He is the Almighty One, we are but small creatures. David knew that.
He is present
Note that, in the midst of his suffering, he still calls the LORD ‘my God’. In every circumstance we must look unto Him, for He is present. His love is faithful. The deep of His love calls to the deep of our misery.
So even if it seemed God had forgotten him, David told himself to hope. And so can you. Why? Because of Jesus, the great son of David. He also asked God “Why have you forgotten me?” when He was in the greatest suffering in the history of mankind. He took all of your mistakes, pain, suffering to the cross and died. All God’s waves were rushing over Him. But He has overcome. He has risen from the dead.
He is your saving presence.
Read also: When life is not a rose garden