Psalm 42: Longing soul

What or who do you want more than anything?

To go out?  To get a break from schooling the kids?  To be on that holiday that had to be cancelled?

For David, it's God - and he's desperately longing for him more than anything...

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    ‘Where is your God?’


Christians, like David, KNOW God and at the same time LONG for him.  We know he's forgiven our sin and that he hears us when we pray.  We trust his promises.  We have his Spirit living in us.  And yet we know there's more.  We're not face-to-face with God yet.  And in this world, there is still trouble to face.  

So we long for him.

David faced derision and mockery for trusting his God.  And whilst Christians today (in our part of the world) don't face death like David did, we do face derision and mockery as people say the same to us as David's enemies said to him - "Where is your God?"  

And it can rob us of our joy at times.  David knows it.

He remembers when life was easier.  When he was free to worship God without opposition or threat...
  
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.


As we face tough times, we can look back with gratitude for the undeserved blessings of God we have enjoyed in the past, and this can give us confidence in the present that the future will be better than it is now, even if it gets worse for a while...
 
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.

David is in the habit of talking to himself.  He talks to his soul.  "Come on soul!", he often says.  "You should be praising God!"  It's a healthy habit to challenge our negative thoughts with positive ones.  

Today we call it CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)! 

But Christians have more reason than anyone to refocus themselves in hard times.  More good things to focus on too.  God himself - and all his blessings and promises.  And so David reminds himself...

My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
    the heights of Hermon – from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

When we feel at our lowest, we can do as David did - remember God and his promises for those who know him.  Those of us who trust and follow Jesus know God's forgiveness and love and his presence with us in our toughest moments.  And the sure promise of a world free from sickness, suffering and death.

So, like David, we don't stop talking to our God, thanking him, singing to him, taking our questions to him, telling him about our suffering...

By day the LORD directs his love,
    at night his song is with me –
    a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock,
    ‘Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?’
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
    as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
    ‘Where is your God?’

And we don't stop talking to ourselves - to our souls - reminding ourselves, geeing ourselves up - "Come on soul!"... 

11 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.

Check out this old song by a band called Tree63.  It's based on Psalm 63 actually but I thought it would fit well here too.  It's brilliant!  Maybe you could make it your prayer today and be energised by God again as you cry out to him in faith!