Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.
These words found in Psalm 42:5 are a stirring reminder that positioning myself in the light of my Father’s countenance breeds hope and increases life, regardless of the circumstances in which I may find myself at any given moment. It’s imperative that I remind myself of my position as the beloved of Christ, especially when my adversary is constantly maneuvering to steal my memory and rob me blind. Satan consistently attempts to disrupt my life and disquiet my heart with any number of anxieties and doubts. And all too often, I play directly into his hand – knowing full well that he is dealing with the deck stacked against me.
Psalm 42 is my call for a re-deal.
No matter what cards you’re being dealt at the moment, there is help found in the face of Jesus Christ. Rescue and rest are our portion when we are living close to God. The way we view ourselves, others, and even our circumstances is seen with greater clarity when we remember that God is in our midst. And He is not neutral about anything concerning you or me. In fact, He always picks sides.
He sides with His beloved.
We would do well to join our voices with that of the psalmist who encouraged himself to remember and call forth the reason for hope in his life: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance. Regardless of the disparaging circumstances, despite the fact that the writer was feasting upon his own tears, he drew upon what he remembered to be true:
God was still present. Still prepared to help him.
Interestingly, if we continue reading to the end of Psalm 42, we find it finishes the same as in verse 5… well, almost. It is identical up until the final statement of …the help of my countenance and my God (v.11). What caused those last, few words to change? Could it be that faith surfaced in the life of the psalmist as he realized the truth of his own statement?
“The help of His countenance” became “the help of my countenance and my God.” Apparently the psalmist asked for a re-deal, then positioned himself to hear and receive the truth – and it changed his point of view. No longer was he simply lamenting life, instead, he internalized the Truth. He believed and applied the help that God offers, and in this transfer of love and acceptance, he experienced grace. A grace that transformed his heart in the midst of his circumstances.
All too often, I want God to change my circumstances without changing my heart. But that’s generally not the way He works. Because our hearts are of primary importance. He can take us through any circumstances as long as our hearts belong to Him. He can handle our frustrations, our doubts, and even our subjective feelings. Read through the Psalms, and you will find they are filled with raw emotion. There’s no need to sugarcoat our rampant emotions tumbling over themselves like waters crashing upon river rocks. But we must leave room for the truth of our feelings to collide with God’s truths. To allow the healing to rush against the despair, thundering and flowing together until they settle into a peaceful calm. A calm that comes only when truth prevails and love is transferred. A peace that settles deep within when the light of His countenance causes our own faces to glow with the joy of being fully known… and chosen still.
Shame overridden and erased by the mercy of a glorious cross.
By the light of a perfect, holy countenance shadowing our own.
Rise up, beloved, and choose to praise Him for the help of your countenance today.