Why? Why? Why? THis question echoes through Psalm 42 and through many of the Psalms as the child of God under pressure cries out to his God.
Thirsting For God
Things have happened in the life of the Psalmist which causes him to thirst for the living God. He asks as we ask today: “Why have you forgotten me?” “Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” (Ps. 42:9) Things happen in the life of the Christian that cause our enemies to gloat asking, “Where is your God?” (Ps. 42:10) The troubles and tribulations of life seem to make a mockery of Thanksgiving Day and genuine thanksgiving.
This is especially true for those who are down. One of the increasing afflictions of life is what the world calls depression. Depression is a feeling of utter helplessness and dark hopelessness.
There are many causes for depression. For the Christian, depression produces a very real sense of alienation from God. “When shall I come and appear before God?” Depression also robs us of a true sense of thanksgiving in our lives. In this state the child of God tends to be self-absorbed and is filled with guilt as Satan beats up on him while he is down. The Psalmist cries out “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” (Ps. 42:5,11) All of us have cried out to God out of the depths of trouble and fear. Why? Why? Why?
The key to overcoming this spiritual disturbance is not to change the situation or to make use of all our resources. It is not enough to tell someone to “cheer up.” The only answer is to be found in God and His merciful kindness toward us. “As a deer pants for the water streams, so my soul pants for You, O God” (Ps. 42:1). The answer for despair and tears is found only in “God, my rock.”
The Key to Faith-Life
Remember! Remember these things (Ps. 42:5). The key to faith-life is to remember the wonderful works of God in connection with our worship of Him.
Thanksgiving is a result of remembering. The Passover and the twelve stones from Jordan were designed to make succeeding generations remember the saving works of the Lord. In every communion service we bring to remembrance what Jesus did for us at the cross. The Psalmist remembers when “I went with the multitudes to the house of God, with the voice of joy and thanksgiving” (Ps. 42:4).
Take time this Thanksgiving Day to remember and rejoice in your worship of God. Remember the hymns you sang. Remember the Scripture readings and sermons. Remember the people with whom you worshiped and, together, praised the God of your salvation. There is no reason for you to be cast down and depressed.
Remember! Remember God wherever you are. The Psalmist in the land of Jordan remembers the saving help of the Lord. Even though the waves and billows cascaded over him, he remembered the Lord’s mercy. Day and night the Lord’s loving kindness was with him. “The Lord will command His loving kindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me — a prayer to the God of my life” (Ps. 42:8). No matter where you are, the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness is there for you. God will never forsake nor leave you.
The Lord In Control
Remember. Remember that the Lord is “the help of my countenance” (NIV = “my Savior) and my God” (Ps. 42:11). Why are you in despair? God is the Rock of your salvation. He loves you enough to send His only Son, Jesus, into the world to die on the cross for your sins.
The Lord is in control of the world and your life. Twice the psalmist tells himself, “Hope in the Lord” (Ps. 42:5,11). “I shall yet praise Him.” You will again give thanks unto the Lord for you will know that He is good. God is the help of “my” countenance and “my” God. No matter what troubles of problem you face, God is personally there for you in connection with Jesus Christ and His cross.
Take time this Thanksgiving to remember the Lord and what He has done for you. If you are down and depressed, remember God and cry out to Him for help. He will hear you and deliver you.
Thank God that in your despair He has not turned His face from you. In fact, in these times of despair, God is the closest and most real.
Let your Thanksgiving be a remembrance festival day. “Why are you cast down?” “O give thanks unto the Lord.”
— Pastor John Schierenbeck