Psalm 42

Something happened that tugged my heart and kept me weary all evening. My capacity to create a problem or worry out of nothing astounds me; it has been such a busy yet productive day that I wondered, “How could I even make time for worrying?”

I decided to go out for a night walk, praying my way through every step with a saddened heart. If anyone who passed by looked intently, they would see my dejected look (I do wear my heart on my sleeve sometimes), so I put on my earbuds to listen to praise songs to get my heart to rejoice in the Lord. Then a random song played and the first stanza struck me:

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why are you troubled within?
For I will hope in my Saviour, my God
And I will praise Him, yet praise Him again

Psalm 42 (I Will Praise Him Again) – CityAlight

I had never heard of this song before, and the timing of it playing as if Jesus heard me at that exact moment, comforting me, and responding to me through this song felt very serendipitous. I tried to stop the tears from falling because I hated crying in public. I went about my walk for several minutes until I got home and locked myself in my room to finally pray-cry.

Morning by morning, new mercies are streaming
I trust in your goodness where I cannot see
You have been faithful whenever I wandered
Lord, give me the hope that I need

Tears started streaming down my face and I didn’t have the words to pray. I was praying through the song, through Scripture, acknowledging the pain of not knowing where this longing leads and my desire not being fulfilled. Yet I am being comforted with the hope that Jesus is loving and faithful to bring about goodness and turn this around. I am still struggling sometimes with the truth that God understands the desires of my heart and that He will give them if I seek Him first and delight in Him (Matthew 6:33, Psalm 37:4), although it may not be fulfilled how I imagine it to be. But I’m still hoping in the Lord and I am finding great assurance that He sees through my heart and my tears and He can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Yet not my will, but the Lord’s be done.

Another thing I am learning in this situation is my tendency to feel deeply and depend on my feelings when in fact it is very deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9-10). I need to be secure in God’s truth, be disciplined in what I think, and be careful about where my heart dwells (Ephesians 6:14, Philippians 4:8, Proverbs 4:23). Help me, Father, to see beyond my feelings and to be aware of what is real, so that I will not miss what You have for me in every moment. May my joy be dependent on Your goodness, not in how good I feel that day, not in people, things, or circumstances.

Is my soul still downcast? It still is, I still feel the weight of a discouraged heart. I wish I could forget these feelings immediately and for this desire to be taken away if it is not God’s will for me. It’s hard to let go and let God sometimes. It’s not easy to wait and not know if it will even be granted one day. But like appreciating the sun even if I don’t know what the day brings, I want to bask and rejoice in the new hope and mercies that God gives every day for He has wonderful plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11). I choose to put my trust in His goodness when I can’t see because I know His hand is holding me. I want to be content in Jesus alone and that His love is enough for me.

The Lord will send His goodness in the daytime;
And His song will be with me in the night,
A prayer to the God of my life.

Psalm 42:8

I committed myself to reading or praying through one psalm a day on top of my Bible reading, but I get tangled up with commitments that I forget to read one. I did not expect it but I believe it was no coincidence that Psalm 42 is the exact prayer I needed on this day, 4/2/2024.

Thank you, Jesus. Hallelujah.

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