Have you ever wandered away from God and His church to the point that you felt a stranger to your own faith? People come to you and ask you about your God, your church, and your faith, and you do not have anything to say?
Those situations have the ability to bring feelings and memories that tell you how important that group of people were in your life and development and how much you miss them. You remember your Sunday School teacher, the pastors, the elders, the programs, the worship, and the music, even those bloopers that every church experiences. You just wish you could go back.
In Psalm 42, we find an interesting plea from the psalmist. He is asking God to let him go back. He finds himself in a strange and foreign land and he can’t take it anymore. Sometimes we leave by our own volition, we do not like the church; we need to move for other reasons, such as school, work, etc. But sometimes we leave as a result of the will of other men. This is the case of the Psalmist. He is in the Babylon in exile. He was taken captive.
His cry is: “Psa. 42:1-2 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” He wants to go back to God. He says, “my soul pants for you, O God.” He wants to have a good and healthy relationship with God. He had that in the past, and he wants to have it again. Sometimes God allows us to experience some desert in our spiritual journey, so we can remember that He is the Fountain of the Living Water.
But it is not only God. He misses the church, the celebrations: “Psa. 42:4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.” How many times you were transported to a forgotten time just because you heard a hymn or you read a Bible verse?
It is interesting that the people around the psalmist, even though they did not believe in God, are the ones used by God to push him in God’s directions. They keep asking him: “Psa. 42:3… “Where is your God?” The psalmist challenge is that at that point of his life he finds himself between a rock and a hard place. He longs to leave but his reality does not allow him to do it.
What can you do if you, a member of your family, or a friend is in a similar situation? The psalmist throughout this psalm helps us to deal with this kind of situation. The first thing that he does is to remember. “Psa. 42:6 my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon — from Mount Mizar.” Keep the memories of God and that special time alive in your heart.
The second thing is to be sure that God loves you and cares for you. This is what the psalmist sings: “Psa. 42:8 By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me — a prayer to the God of my life.” Never forget that God loves you.
The next thing that we learn is to present our prayers, cries, and requests to the Lord. If you are facing exile from God raise your voice and ask Him to help you and to let you come back to Him (vs. 9).
Finally, never lose hope. No matter how far you think you are from God, always have hope that God will act and change your circumstances. Twice he says this: “Psa. 42:11 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Hope will enable you to sing in the middle of adversities.
Have a blessed week,