Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Ps 42:11

The psalmist is speaking to the “living part” of himself, his soul. The living part of his being is cast down and heavy – disquieted. I understand this.

If this “disquiet” is a part of the Psalmist’s experience, a byproduct of fears and oppression, why does the modern person become concerned when feeling this way? As though we’ve done something wrong; that we haven’t had sufficient “good thoughts” or maintained a positive attitude.  Yet heaviness and disquietness are the soul’s natural reaction to life’s difficult situations.

This passage appears to be an internal discussion between the writer and himself. I benefit from the progression of thought expressed.

“Why are thou cast down, O my soul?” He is surprised at his own heaviness.

Then he encourages himself, “Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him.”

As if to say, “Why are you sad, take heart, something will come of this difficulty, something worthy of praise. God has proven himself in the past, He will not absent himself this time, take courage – be still.”

This psalm speaks to me in two ways; first, that to be heavy or disquieted is a natural state of my soul in response to fears and worries. Second, that when life causes me worry and distress, I should encourage myself by remembering that God hasn’t failed me and that when the turmoil has passed I will have something to be thankful for.

Counterintuitive? Yes. But that is the point.

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