It’s believed that David wrote Psalm 42. His name is not mentioned as the writer, but the psalm is penned in his style and manner. It’s the cry of a man longing to be in the house of his God and at the same time it’s the voice of a believer, depressed, struggling with doubts and fears, but holding on to his faith in the living God.
David’s soul is desperate for relief from the thirst it’s experiencing. He seeks the “living God” in verse 2, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” In verse 3, he asks, “Where is your God?” It’s probable that David's running from Absalom may have been the occasion for composing this psalm. So we see a man suffering from a deep depression because of things that have happened in his life. This is the reason he said, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” (vs. 5).
David used the terms to describe himself “downcast” and “disturbed” … yet he speaks to himself, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Being downcast and disturbed he says, “I WILL put my hope in God and I WILL to praise Him!” What a declaration! What a determined declaration!
In the midst of life’s struggles, the root of your hope is God, Himself … “Put your hope in God … my Savior and my God.” The reality of your hope is found in the truth of God’s Word … “it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:18-19). The result of your hope is stated in Isaiah 40 … “those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (vs. 31).
David wrote in Psalm 42 feelings of depression and discouragement, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” David knew that by taking his focus away from his own troubles and on to God he would praise God for his overcoming deliverance.
So what have we learned? First, in the midst of life’s struggles seek God with everything you’ve got. Second, trust God with all your heart. Finally, praise God for the results of hope in your situation.
Remember you have a hope as an anchor for the soul. This doesn’t mean that everything suddenly becomes smooth sailing, but it does give us assurance that you can praise God for a hope that is firm and secure!
Rev. J. Patrick Street is the lead pastor of Redeemer Church in Marion. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Marion Star: Pastor column: Turn to God in the midst of life's struggles