Archive for March 8th, 2008

Why So Downcast?

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 42 (ESV-text and audio) (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Tyler Connoley):

I was having one of those mornings when God felt very distant. If I were being honest, I would say I was feeling agnostic leaning toward atheism. My soul felt dark and empty, and I thought I must be the worst Christian on the planet — no one could be more faithless than I am today.

However, I decided to read the Psalm for that morning anyway. I’ve been taught that when you’re thrown into the deep end of the lake, you should just pretend like you can swim. Tread water until you reach dry land or someone comes to rescue you. This particular morning, I was sure no one would come to rescue me, because no one was out there.

So I prayed, “God please make yourself real to me. I can’t feel you this morning.”

And I opened my Bible to the Psalm: As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.

“Well,” I thought, “this psalmist certainly felt better about God than I do today. He loved God and longed for God, and I’m not even sure God exists.”

Then I read on: My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?

Suddenly, I realized that this psalmist knew exactly how I felt. Like me, he was longing for a glimpse of God’s face, for some proof that God was not dead but alive.

The Psalm continues: My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me continually, “Where is your God?” And the psalmist then recalls how he used to lead processions, and sing and shout with thanksgiving to God. He has hope that he will feel that way again, but he insists that he doesn’t feel God’s presence today.

I have to admit, like the psalmist, I didn’t suddenly sense God’s presence and know that everything was going to be fine. However, as I read this psalm, I felt less alone. I knew I was not the only one to have days when God felt distant. And, with the psalmist, I was able to say:

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?

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

Thought for the day: Do you have days when you can’t feel God’s presence, and wonder if God even exists? You’re not alone. Together, we can hope in God, for we shall again praise God.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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