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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Today’s Reading | Psalm 42

As a deer longs for flowing streams,
     so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
     for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
     the face of God?
My tears have been my food
     day and night,
while people say to me continually,
     Where is your God?”

These things I remember,
     as I pour out my soul:
how I went with the throng,
     and led them in procession to the house of God,
with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
     a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
     and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
     my help and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
     therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
     from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
     at the thunder of your cataracts;
all your waves and your billows
     have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
     and at night his song is with me,
     a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God, my rock,
     “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I walk about mournfully
     because the enemy oppresses me?”
As with a deadly wound in my body,
     my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me continually,
     “Where is your God?”

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
     and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
     my help and my God. (NRSV)


“My soul longs for you, O God . . . my soul thirsts for the living God.” “I pour out my soul . . . my soul is cast down within me.” Perhaps you remember times when your spirit, your essence, felt parched and far removed from the refreshing waters of God’s Spirit. Our yearning for communion with God is itself God’s Spirit at work within us. We are created to be in union with God and do not feel whole without that oneness. “Deep calls to deep” describes how God beckons us to come close, to drink deeply of the life-giving fountain of God’s love.

Depression among teenagers is especially difficult, and sometimes suicidal, in part because they don’t have previous experience that their depression will end, nor do they have hope that they will come through it returning to a place of joy.

Here the psalmist is constantly weeping and being continually taunted by others that God is absent. But he interrupts his own lament by purposely recalling more joyful times, times when he was part of a festival, leading the crowd in praising God and gladly giving thanks with shouting and singing. Then he questions his own unrest. For God has not changed. God’s love is still there for him, ever the same.

When we experience hard times, let us be like the psalmist, remembering God’s steadfast love for us and trusting that one day we will again praise God, with our thirst quenched.


O God, deepen my faith that, whether bidden or not, whether I feel it or not, you are present. When I am consumed by current troubles, help me recall times when I felt close to you and filled with joy. Help me remember your steadfast love, so I can anticipate the future with hope. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Written by Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission

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