December 17, 2016

Longing Hope

Psalm 42

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

—  Psalm 42:5

One way to describe our sin and our life in a sinful world is to say that we are thirsty. We thirst after God. We were created for communion with God, but because of sin we thirst for God.

Psalm 42 says this poetically: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

The psalmist remembers times when God has been faithful to him in the past. Those memories give him hope for the ­future. He trusts that God will quench his thirst.

We can have confident hope that God will make everything right. But the psalmist also lets us know that we can cry out to God with our longings and our pain. This can be a model for honest prayer, even for telling God about the ways we are disappointed or angry with him. God wants us to pray honestly, and God delights to hear our prayers.

A prayer like this psalm is not a sign of weak faith. In fact, it is a sign of strong faith. Psalm 42 is a prayer trusting that God cares for us in our weakness and forgives our sins. We can cry out to God with longing hope, praying that he will quench our thirst and knowing that he is near.

Dear God, we long for you as the deer longs for streams of water. We thirst for you. Draw us near to you and quench our thirst. We put our hope and trust in you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Rebecca Jordan Heys

Rebecca Jordan Heys serves as a pastor at Calvin Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She and her husband, Kyle, are the parents of two children.

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