David's battle with turmoil, recounted in Psalms 42 and 43, results in longing for God's presence.
My tears have been my food day and night,
While they say to me all day long, "Where is your God?" (42:3)
God certainly has not forsaken His child, but at low moments all of us could testify that there are times when it feels like He has! What do we do to become reassured? How can we find the hope of God's care when we are feeling low, when we are in the grind of inner turmoil? David talked to himself.
These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival. (42:4)
A more exact rendering of the beginning of this verse would be: "These things I will remember . . . " or "These things I would remember . . . " David said these things to himself. Sometimes healthy, positive self-talk is great therapy. He is saying that when he is blue, he will call to remembrance past days of victory when God was very real, very present. He says, in effect, "Those were the days, my friend! Those were days of blessing, joy, and thanksgiving!" After calling to mind such days, he asks:
Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him
For the help of His presence. (42:5)
Why," he asks, "should I feel sad and blue with such positive memories?" He admits that such vivid memories of past victory should really encourage him.
When you are "crouched" in turmoil, it helps to think back to previous victories and call to mind specific things God did for you. Remember the Lord of your past is the Lord right now.
I remember my first year at Dallas Seminary. Cynthia and I lived in an apartment on campus that wasn't air-conditioned. It stayed hot even during the early fall of the year. Knowing that summer would surely come the following year, we began to pray for a window air conditioner. In fact, we prayed through the cold winter and cool spring months for it. We told no one; we just prayed. Nothing happened for months. Zero response. Late that spring we made a trip home to Houston during a brief Easter weekend. Summer was coming, still no air conditioner. Dallas would soon be an oven! "Another hundred days of hundred-degree weather," we used to say. We didn't announce our trip home; except for our family, no one knew we were coming. We had not been home visiting Cynthia's folks for even an hour before the phone rang. On the other end of the line was a man from our home church.
Surprised, he said, "Chuck, is that you?"
I answered, "Yes."
His next words were: "Do you and Cynthia need a window air conditioner? We just installed a new central heating and air conditioning unit, and my wife and I thought you two could use the one we've replaced."
What a great God we have!
Similar things have occurred since that happened, but to this day, when I get low and blue regarding needs, I call to mind that marvelous day back in the spring of 1960 when our Lord provided for our specific need.
From Living the Psalms by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
In Embraced by the Spirit, we step away from the heat of theological battle that analyzes and criticizes and move quietly and closely to the One who has been sent alongside to help.