Making Life Work
Read: Psalm 42:1-11
Focus: Psalm 42:11
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
I’m not a mental health expert, so don’t go throwing away your meds if you are under the care of a medical professional. And please don’t take this as the final word on clinical depression. So with that caveat out of the way, let me just say that I think the authors of this psalm, the sons of Korah, David’s worship team, are on to something.
And since we believe this sacred book, the Bible, is God’s perfect revelation of himself and his will for mankind, then let’s lean it to it as our perfect and only rule of faith and practice. Let’s treat it as we should—as the first, highest and best authority by which we will live our lives!
So when it comes to the ups and downs that we commonly experience in our daily existence, this psalm reminds us that the sure path to emotional balance and inner joy is to practice hope. The psalmist says, “put your hope in God.” The Apostle Paul said it a bit differently—but he had the same thing in mind: Put on…hope.” (I Thessalonians 5:8)
Practice hope! How? Start by dwelling on the love and kindness that God has for you. Dwell on all the things he has done for you for which you are grateful. Dwell on all the promises he has made to you in Scripture. Dwell on the promise of heaven. Basically, just do some reverse worrying. What do you do when you are worried? You dwell on the negative. So just turn that around and dwell on the truth of God’s Word. Do that—practice hope—and watch it “rock your world.”
Don’t believe that will work? Well, let me give you just one example of how hope can change you. Suppose you were to receive a phone call later today from an old friend who enthusiastically says, “Friend, I have good news. You can take a 7-day trip to Hawaii with my company that won’t cost you a dime. We have room for two more…but here’s the catch: we leave tomorrow evening at 9:00 PM. The boss is taking us on his private jet, and we’ll be staying at his beachfront villa in Maui.” You tell him you’ll call him right back, and the minute you get off the phone, you and your spouse, who was listening in, start thinking and planning. Out comes the pen and paper, and you begin to prioritize what you need to do to make this happen. Then you call the friend back, and tell him you’re in.
If that were to happen, I guarantee that you would then begin to ruthlessly align your life over the next 24 hours to pull off that all expenses paid trip to paradise. You might say that the hope of Hawaii tomorrow changed the way you lived today.
There’s something even better and more permanent than Hawaii. It’s called heaven. So why don’t you live like you are going there tomorrow—everyday! Here’s the deal: You’ll be amazed at how hitching your hope to the promise of heaven (or the love of God, or the blessings of salvation, or any other truth of God’s Word) will change everything you experience today—even your emotions.
“He that lives in hope dances without music.” (George Herbert)