“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.” (Psalm 42:5)
News can come from the radio, a phone app, or a doctor’s report. How do we react when it’s troubling? The psalmist was downcast and disquieted. Rather than denying or ignoring what we’re feeling, it can help to appraise honestly what we’re feeling and why.
Many psalmists spoke of wrestling with their fears. They were believers and knew God’s Word. Yet they struggled with their feelings. The Psalms address life as it really is and do more than just provide answers. They also show the process by which we can get past internal obstacles and embrace the peace of God.
The psalmist began by talking to himself regarding what he was feeling. Were his feelings valid?
Our minds may continue playing the same messages repeatedly—some since we were children. Are they true? Were they ever? Are they relevant today? Overwhelmingly negative and critical messages contribute little that’s helpful. We may be inclined to focus more on our reactions to them rather than effectively dealing with them.
What if this or that happens?! Does God even care? It may be time to listen less to ourselves and talk more to ourselves. “Hey, the devil’s the one who wants to fan my fear into panic and my uncertainty into despair.” We need to remind ourselves that God loves us! He redeemed us! That remains true even when our lives are in shambles.
The psalmist honestly appraised his internal dialogue and then applied the Good News of God’s love. That was how he could go forth in the joy of God’s peace.
The next thing he did was reorder his expectations. Wishful thinking equals disappointment. The Lord helps with this by telling us what to expect.
Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation.” That is going to happen. Then He says, “But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Expect both things to happen!
When our expectations line up with what He assured us is coming, then we won’t be disappointed. “Put your hope in God!” We’re encouraged to tell that to ourselves. Don’t hope in your health, money, or any politician. Only God can and will come through for you.
The Lord buoys us with words like these from Psalm 103:3-5:
“[He] forgives all your iniquities . . . heals all your diseases . . . redeems your life from destruction . . . crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies . . . satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
When we compare how much time we spend thinking about those things to how much time we spend thinking about all the disquieting things around us, we may want to reconsider how we’re spending our time.
Looking at a screen less may be just be the ticket! The Lord gives us everything we need to remain calm and confident, but we won’t enjoy the full benefit of those gifts if we permit our Bibles to remain unopened.
Consider this summary of thoughts from a dear departed pastor:
- When we think about our justification, then we don’t need to dwell on the past and on our guilt;
- When we think about our sanctification, we are assured that God is invested in us and continues to work in us;
- When we think about our adoption, we’re reminded that God does love us as a father;
- When we think about our future resurrection, then we’re not afraid of aging or dying.
That is why we will put our hope in God, and we will yet praise Him, our Savior and our God!
It may be time to listen less to ourselves and talk more to ourselves.