The Fourth Part of a Nine Part Series which began on February 10, 2016
There are three things that help a person stay mentally healthy. The First thing we all need is rest, the Second comfort and encouragement from God, and the Third . . .
We all need Hope and Confidence
Many of the psalms express our personal thoughts, feelings, and dreams. We can quickly relate when the writers declare: “The Lord is my Shepherd” (Psalm 23:1), or “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart” (Psalm 9:1). God cares for us individually and personally.
Kidner describes Psalm 42 as “one of the most sadly beautiful in the Psalter.”
(Kidner, D. (1978). Psalms 1-72 An Introduction and Commentary on Books I and II of The Psalms (p. 165). Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press).
The writer is a temple singer separated from Jerusalem and the temple worship. He expressed his longing for God. Far from Jerusalem, he felt sadly distant. It is possible to understand that Jesus is close, but at the same time to feel painfully distant from Him.
“As a Deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God” (42:1). He knew that God refreshes and gives life, but he felt distant from the Lord.
His faith was shaken by the taunts of nonbelievers, because they matched his doubts. “My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” (42:3).
Finally, the writer asks himself an important question, “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” (42:5). He faced his painful feelings squarely and directed himself toward the only One who could satisfy his thirst.
Psalm 42 reflects a personal conflict. Several times the writer indicates he was discouraged and “cast down” (vv. 6, 9, 11) only to reassert his hope in God. The Psalm ends with confidence: “I shall again praise him” (42:11).
These are the three things that I’ve found over the years that keep a person mentally healthy. First, we need to be sure that we and the ones we care about are getting enough rest. Second, we need to encourage others, and at the same time stay close to people who love God and lift us up when we feel down and discouraged. And third, we need to understand that biblical hope and confidence are not one time events, they are a continual expression of our faith in Jesus Christ.
Dr James P Porowski Raleigh NC February 13, 2016