Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have felt twinges of sadness or despair, and that’s understandable. For some of us, these feelings are momentary glitches in an otherwise happy life. For others, it’s a dark cloud of depression that blocks out the sun.
If that sounds like you, the writer of Psalm 42 knows how you feel: ‘My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”’ (v. 3). He even asks a similar question: “I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me?”’
However, there are at least three things the Psalmist does to help himself through this dark period.
First, he acknowledges how he is feeling. He doesn’t try to sugar-coat it or spiritualise it. He brings his sorrow and sense of abandonment before God.
Second, he makes a conscious choice to trust in God even though he doesn’t understand what’s going on around him.
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 (v. 5).
Third, he chooses to remember what God had done for him.
By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life (v. 8).
He may not have all the answers, but he knows the One who does and he chooses to put his hope in him.
This pandemic might seem never-ending, but it will eventually be brought under control. In the meantime, we can be confident in the secure hope we have in God through Jesus. There are still a thousand reasons to praise his name.
Dear Lord, thank you that you are walking with me through these difficult times. Help me to cast my eyes towards you and remember all you have done. My hope is in you alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Q1 The Psalmist didn’t try to camouflage how he was feeling but was honest with God about his despair. How might this be a comfort to us when we are going through difficult times?
Q2 Meditate on Psalm 42:5–6. What things of God can you remember and focus on when feeling sad or alone?