Summary: Why art thou cast down, O my soul?
THE PANTING DEER
There is such a thing as speaking truth into raw emotion. Imagine a situation where you are one of the worship team in the Temple at Jerusalem, and you are taken hostage to Samaria (cf. 2 Kings 14:14). On the way your heart identifies with a deer panting for water as you find yourself yearning for the things of God from which you have been so recently, so suddenly, and so violently dragged away (Psalm 42:1-3).
You reflect on the past which seems now lost to you (Psalm 42:4), but you also ask questions of God. You summon up courage to hope in the midst of affliction (Psalm 42:5). You are still downcast, but you will yourself to keep your God in mind (Psalm 42:6).
You reassure yourself of the LORD’s unfailing covenant love; and even in the night, the dark night of your soul, you continue to praise Him (Psalm 42:8; cf. Acts 16:25). You call out to the Rock of your salvation - Jesus- but it seems that there is no answer (Psalm 42:9-10). Yet still you persist, and dare to hope for a restoration to the familiar place of His closeness (Psalm 42:11).
You cry out to God again in your pain. You seek vindication against those who taunt you, who are questioning your faith (Psalm 43:1-2). You gain courage as you reflect on the light, truth, and covenant faithfulness of your God, and you dare to envisage an end to your exile (Psalm 43:3-5).