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.
~Psalm 42:5,11 and Psalm 43:5
If you take a few moments and read through Psalms 42 and 43, you will notice this refrain appears 3 times. The repetition has invited me to ponder why the Psalmist has woven it into this song of lament. Do our prayers of lament only ask God, “Why?” Like the Psalmist, you and I can desire to know when we’ll see God’s face again because there may be something missing in our current worship. Moreover, we can long to know where God is and whether or not he has forgotten us.
But what would happen if we explored the deeper reasons “why”? The Psalmist continues this inward journey by asking a different question: “Why is my soul downcast and in such turmoil?” If we ask ourselves this question, do we, like the Psalmist, have an immediate shift toward a hope that is actively waiting on God? Active hope is a patient hope that often appears passive.
But in reality, it is a wellspring that flows from God’s light and truth and quenches the soul’s thirst for refreshing experiences with God. Moreover, as we patiently wait, we receive a hope that does not put us to shame nor disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5).
What questions do you and I need to be asking as we encourage ourselves to patiently hope in God?