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Psalms Prayers of the Heart
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  • Jesus' Prayerbok: A Look at the Psalms
    Part 4 Psalm 42

    Tom Yeshua


    Life does not always turn out the way we planned. As children we dream of a future full of excitement and adventure. Doctors, astronauts, rock stars, the glittering list is one of endless possibilities.

    Then reality takes over. The physically limited or uncoordinated give up Olympic dreams. Those with an aversion to blood leave behind dreams of becoming a surgeon. The tone-deaf do not become musicians (well, most of the time). The reality of life can be a cold teacher, causing us to say with the psalmist:

    My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me continually "Where is your God?" -Ps 42: 3

    Sometimes dreams fade, sometimes they melt away, at other times they are blasted apart by others, their shards slashing our souls to the core:

    I say to my God, my rock, Why have you forgotten me? Why must I walk about mournfully because my enemy oppresses me. -v 9

    But that is not the end of the story. For those who belong to Jesus, who have been purchased at the cost of his blood, there remains the glimmer of hope, at times a struggling, delicate, fragile spark, yet it remains. Because at our darkest moments there remains a fundamental truth:

    As a deer that longs for flowing streams so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God? -v 1, 2

    We, indeed long for the living God, especially when our world crumbles around us, when "enemies" surround to pounce upon us and mock our faith, our reason to hope and trust in God. Again we can say with the author of this psalm:

    Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. -v 5

    Robert Schuller once wrote,

    Tough times don't last, tough people do."

    The death of one dream can be the stuff that gives birth to a new and greater one. The God who loved you into existence, the Son of God who offered himself out of passionate love for you, the Spirit of the living God who daily sustains you will never abandon you. He knows what he is about. The question at times like these is: How much do you trust him to love you through this time in your life? Can you hope in the one whose heart was torn open as a sign of the depth of his love for you as your own heart cries out in pain?

    Reach out in the darkness. Push aside the refuse of what lies broken at your feet, and with as much trust as you can muster, cry out in faith:

    Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.


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