Day 9


Psalm 42

If we look back at our experiences with God throughout our lives, it's easy to identify places where He felt so close, and where we could sense we were right where we were supposed to be. The Israelites would establish altars at these times – landmarks that would stand through the ages, pointing to the Lord's works among His people.

But not every place the Israelites traveled is marked by an altar. The truth is, there are times where we feel we haven't seen God move in a while, even when we've needed Him to. Sometimes in our journey of faith we feel alone, abandoned, downcast, and wonder how to live a life of worship and obedience when we're feeling disappointed and confused.

The writer of Psalm 42 pours out the sorrow and emptiness his heart is experiencing - he remembers how close he felt to God, and the joy that is so lacking in his current season. He goes so far as to say that his "bones suffer mortal agony." Not only does he miss the richness of those times, but he's even mocked because of his continued faith and hope!

All the anguish and sorrow makes the Psalmist's response puzzling. He calls out to "put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." He doubles down on hope in the midst of what seems to be a lack of it, almost out of spite! When he feels lost and abandoned, it is the very hope in God's return that makes all the difference.

That's why altars are so important – it's critical that we take note of the times when God moved in real, memorable ways. By holding onto these times, sharing them with one another, making them a part of our prayer and worship, we continually bring His movement into our stories. This colors our experiences, giving us something to yearn for in those seasons where we feel alone, for we know that God does move - we remember it, we feel it, and we can walk in confidence and hope because of it!

By: Brian Engle
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