Last week we observed how we, as Christians, deal with periods and seasons of spiritual dryness and depression. We saw, first and foremost, our response to such despair and discouragement drives us to our need for God. While questions will arise and remain, it is crucial to remember God’s character and acts and respond in pouring out our souls to Him and thirsting for His presence. Yet, we not only respond to God in these moments. Psalm 42 demonstrates we also respond to ourselves. We deal with inward and outward problems. In verses 3 and 10, the psalmist reveals he is facing internal struggles and external scorn. Apparently whatever the psalmist was facing, there were those people who taunted him and caused him exceeding pain with their questioning of God and of the psalmist. These mockers took what they thought was a great opportunity to poke fun at this man’s faith and to add to his depression. Praise be to God, though, that the response to ourselves does not stop there. Verses 5 and 11 say, “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.” The second response we see in relation to ourselves is we talk to ourselves. Moreover, we not only talk to ourselves; we preach to our own souls. The question posed is given an answer in “Hope in God”. For the psalmist, he is not completely there. He is not out of the gutter of being downcast. But he has hope still. He looks ahead to praising God. And why? Because God is His God and His salvation. So, brothers and sisters in Christ, when we face the difficult times in our life, we have a sure hope because of the sure One. Our God has saved us through the person and work of Jesus Christ and we received this all by grace. When we understand God is our salvation and we respond in repentance and faith, we rest in the reality we have hope in Him. God is not just our God when everything is going well. The God of the good times is the same God of the difficult times. That is why we hope, because of who we hope in. Preach that to your own soul.
- How can you make a practice of preaching to your own soul the truth “hope in God” this week?
One thought on “Responding to Spiritual Dryness, Part 2 (Psalm 42)”
Thanks for this post, Theron.
It was an encouragement to me, as I am facing struggles. Mockers are only making it more difficult, and now I am struggling with bitterness and hatred toward them. I find that I’m losing my patience very quickly and even being curt with people, mockers and believers alike. As I strive to look to God and to trust in Him and to take His soul balm, it is providence that I decided to read this post. One of the great things about the Psalms is that they are open, honest pieces of poetry that show us that we’re not alone. Even the great King David had struggles of his own.
That the Bible’s “heroes” are really human, just like us, is, I think, a great testimony to the truthfulness and realness of the Scriptures. It isn’t simply a holy book talking about this and that, lofty peoples, and do’s and don’t’s. The Word speaks to the very person in real, tangible ways.
Thanks for both posts on Spiritual Dryness. I’m not necessarily experiencing spiritual dryness so much as spiritual turmoil. This post helped me, though.
You’ve read Lamentations before, yes? Great book. I’d be interested in seeing blog posts on Lamentations.