Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.
I think we can all agree that life over the last couple of years has been a bit more stressful than usual.
Careers, Covid, and Climate Change.
And I’m sure we can all add our own individual worries and concerns to those ‘Big’ three.
The writer of Psalm 42, in this last verse, seems to be in a similar state of affairs.
They question why their soul – nephesh – themsleves as a living, breathing, creature – is downcast – shachach – to be brought or bent low, to sink or depress – a phrase whihc only occurs three times in the Old Testament – once earlier in this Psalm and again in the next Psalm.
For emphasis they repeat a similar phrase, but in an outward reaction, next – downcast – hamah – to cry aloud, be disquietened, to be moved.
Sometimes it is good to list all the the things causing us to be downcast and get them all out of our minds through conversation or through writing them down.
Some life-coaches will advise you, if you have written them down, to burn the list and gain a sense of release from those concerns.
I’m not sure if this works for anyone but if it does great, although I am sure other concerns and worries can appear to replace them.
The Psalmist tells us that he will praise God – yadah – to make confession, to praise, to give thanks – who is (in the Interlinear translation) the help – yeshuah – salvation, deliverance, health – of our countenance – paneh – our face, our outlook, or our outward persona.
The Psalmist reminds us all that despite our difficulties and troubles, God is with us and if we focus ourselves onto Him he will bring us through this time. Even in the midst of our worries and concerns, we should look to God and find the positive things He is already doing in our lives.
Downcast and disturbed but still praising the Lord.
Perhaps the spiritual equivalent of patting your head and rubbing your stomach?
It always seems easy until you try it.
So get practicing!