Posted July 15, 2013
11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
We would do well to talk to ourselves more often. We learn about this self-talk from the psalmist who found himself in a low, dark, and sorrowful place. In the preceding verses the author is in great turmoil, laid down in a bed of tears surrounded by taunting voices who question God’s nearness. What does one do in such a place? Give in to the voices and doubt God’s goodness? Surrender to despondency and apathy? It is precisely in this place that the psalmist musters the strength to speak to himself. In this speaking to himself, he seeks to do two things:
1. Find the source of sorrow.
The psalmist does not for a moment pretend that these sorrows do not exist. Just the opposite, in fact! He interrogates himself to search himself out until he finds the cause! Charles Spurgeon writes, “David chides David out of the dumps; and herein he is an example for all desponding ones. To search out the cause of our sorrow is often the best surgery for grief.”
2. Find the source of hope.
The psalmist doesn’t stop once he finds the source of the sorrow, but further instructs himself to seek his source of hope. Hope is a balm for the grief-ridden soul! Not merely a vague hope that things will somehow work themselves out, but a God-centered Scripture-anchored hope! Hope is a confidence grounded in the fact that though God may seem absent now, He will eventually intervene and right any wrongs; He will one day comfort the discomforted. Our questions will turn to praise, and our sorrow will turn to joy! Our hope lies not in our circumstances, but in the God who is over circumstances. Hope is a faithful companion for the sojourner till the day we see Him face to face. “If everything be dark, yet the day will come, and meanwhile hope carries stars in her eyes; her lamps are not dependent on oil from without, her light is fed by secret visitations of God, which sustain the spirit. Yet my sighs give place to songs, my mournful ditties shall be exchanged for triumphal paeans.” (Spurgeon)
Song by Chris Clark.
Art by Chris Wright.