The author of Psalm 42 is in deep distress. He is longing for God, and people around him have been taunting him, saying, “Where is your God?”
People in this world also taunt and judge us sometimes. But we should not let that bother us, because people judge others by their own standards. God’s standards are more important.
The psalmist also didn’t see any sign of help and could not go to worship God in the sanctuary — and that caused him to feel forgotten by God. It made the psalmist ache inside. If we are not able to worship God with his people, we too can feel lonely and hurt inside.
The poet longed to be with God and to meet with God. “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” (Psalm 42:1)
What a great Psalm for those in distress right now and especially due to our one year anniversary of the pandemic.
This psalm helps us to see that we can keep faith despite the stresses of feeling distant from God. In God’s strength, the psalmist keeps talking to his soul, saying, “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 42:5, 10; see also Psalm 43:5).
It may take awhile to feel close to God again, especially if we cannot worship God with his people. But God is always with us, watching over us. Our souls are in his hands. Our destiny is safe in his care. Like the psalmist, we can keep reminding ourselves of these good truths in faith. We can praise the Lord, for he is our Savior and God.
Loving God, you know our suffering. Bring us near to you. Be with us always, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.