Has God Forgotten About Me?
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 43:5
No individual can really be educated apart from a knowledge of the Bible, and the book of Psalms in this grand book contains some of the most beautiful and thought-provoking passages and prose of all the world’s great literature. I, for one, marvel at the profound emotional insights which you find described here—the same emotions and feelings we grapple with today. In Psalm 42 and 43, which were probably written as one, the writer voices a recurring theme. Three times he asks, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” Three times, he speaks of the solution: “Put your hope in God,” he says, adding, “for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
Can you relate to that? Do you ever face personal bouts with discouragement and depression? You really know things aren’t as bad as you feel, but you just can’t quite get on top of things. You aren’t alone. The writer of this psalm felt the same way 3000 years ago, and the answer to his problem can be your answer as well.
“Hope in God,” he says–not the stock market, not your beauty or charm, and certainly not your ability to fix things. Following two deep valleys of human suffering, Norman Cousins authored a book entitled, The Biology of Hope. “The human spirit,” he wrote, “can’t be diagnosed or dissected.” What Cousins described as “the human spirit,” the writer of Psalms called “soul.” Therapy, tranquilizers, counseling and surgery can never surpass the power of hope when it comes to healing.
In these two psalms, the writer begins by saying that as the deer pants for water, so his soul pants for God, yet he says that tears have been his constant companion. In this soliloquy the writer makes three “I” statements which provide guidelines for us when we feel cast down and our souls are disturbed within. Here they are: First—”I remember…” Then, “I will say to God…” and finally, “I will go to the altar of God.”
When you reach the valley of despair, looking in your rear view mirror is OK. It’s positive to look behind and recognize the hand of God, remembering His blessings on your life. That’s what the psalmist did. He talked about going to the house of God “with shouts of joy and thanksgiving.” He remembers how in bygone days, God made him a focus of love and gave him a song in the night. No, he didn’t feel like doing this. Remembering was a conscious matter of his will, and so is it for you, too, friend.
Forcing yourself to remember is like building a platform upon which you reach towards the strength of the Almighty.
The second step in climbing out of his misery was a frank admission of his depression to God. “I say to God my Rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?'” That’s plain talk. Telling God exactly how you feel is therapy of the soul. It’s OK to let the tears flow. That’s part of breaking up the hardness of what life has done to you. Tears can be a powerful catalyst for healing.
Then the psalmist said, “I will go to the altar of God,” whom he described as “his joy and delight.” There’s just enough time to share a closing thought: When the psalmist was depressed, he turned to God, not on God. There’s a big difference.
He was convinced that God is a refuge and strength, the One in whom he could hope, and the One he called, “My Savior and my God.” When you ask that question, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” remember, the psalmist’s solution: “Put your hope in God,” and then praise Him for deliverance.
Resource reading: Psalm 42