Difficulties, challenges, crises, sufferings….. we hear about them happening to other people, and in other parts of the world. but we always think that it will not happen to us.
However, due to the brokenness of this world, suffering, crises, challenges and difficulties are actually inevitable.
Yet, most of us are not equipped to face the challenges, crises and difficulties in our lives. Most of us do not know how to deal with crisis and suffering.
Lament Psalms is a collection of Psalms in the Bible on suffering. Through the psalmists, God shows us how to face our sufferings and crises with God.
It is a soul workout to learn the path from the land of desolation to consolation. It shows us the possibility to grow through suffering.
From the Lament Psalms, we learn that …
- God’s accepting our struggles when we are in desolation
- God’s leading in our re-orientation of heart, where we leave the land of desolation and once again move into the presence of God
- Transformation of our soul with new peace and love in the land of consolation
Psalm 42 and 43 are the two parts of one closely-knitted psalm. It is a good example of the journey from desolation to consolation.
The psalmist wrote them in a time of turmoil. Israel was defeated. He was forced to leave home without a date of return. The temple of God was torn down. Enemy was still around day and night.
The psalmist started in the land of desolation and travelled to the land of consolation.
Part 1: Desolation
- The psalmist had two challenges.
- First, the Absence of God:
- The psalmist thirsted for the presence of God. (Ps. 42:1-3) However, God seemed to be absent. (Ps 42:9; 43:2)
- Second, the Presence of Enemy
- He was under the oppression of enemy (Ps 42:3; 42:9; 43:2)
Part 2: Reorientation
- His soul gradually responded in a new sense of affirmation (Ps. 42:5, 42:11; 43:5).
- He was not cast down by his problems but instructed his soul to hope in God, to look up to God (Ps 42:5, 42:11; 43:5)
- He recalled the time when he can praise the Lord for His goodness (Ps. 42:4)
- He remembered the true characters of God even in his own affliction (Ps. 42:6-8)
- The memories and affirmation led his soul to praise, despite of the affliction (Ps. 42:5, 42:11; 43:5)
Part 3: Consolation
- The Psalmist found a new faith in his turmoil.
- Despite the unresolved affliction, he asked God to lead him with His light and His truth. Then, he chose to praise the Lord in joy right in the middle of his turmoil. (Ps. 43:3-4)
His soul was renewed in this journey from desolation to consolation. Although his problem still existed, he was certain that God was still good to him. God was still his salvation.
The psalmist’s praise lifted up his soul. It did not just happen to him, but everyone who praises the Lord.
The psalmist introduces us to a new grammar for praise.
PRAISE EVEN WHEN…… BECAUSE THE LORD IS….
So let’s learn not being dragged down by our problem but be lifted up by praise.
Praise even when time seems bad because the Lord is Our Salvation.