Panting for God

By: Alan Harvey

Posted: August 6, 2019

Category: Daily Devotional

Psalm 42

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me continually, “Where is your God?”

Though it is not a good health practice, I am often not good at keeping my body hydrated. I do not carry a water bottle with me and if I did it most likely would hold coffee, tea or some other beverage. I really am not inclined to drink water, except after having worked in the yard, having perspired profusely and feeling as if my strength has been drained from me. It is then that water quenches my thirst as no other beverage. I can’t get enough of other drinks, but water does slake that thirst. The psalmist thirsts for God and has wept … feeling abandoned by God.

These things I remember, as I pour out my soul; how I went with the throng and led them in procession to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, My help and my God.

The psalmist remembers better days … having led the procession to the temple … singing and praising God. Recently the psalmist senses a great distance between himself and God. He is depressed and has lost hope.

My soul is cast down within me; therefore, I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the thunder of Your cataracts; all Your waves and Your billows have gone over me. By day the Lord commands His steadfast love, and at night His song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.

While the psalmist despairs, God revives soul with His steadfast love and a lullaby. God does not utterly abandon the psalmist.

I say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why must I walk about mournfully because the enemy oppresses me?” As with a deadly wound in my body, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me continually, “Where is your God?”

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, My help and my God.

Through the “storms of life,” the psalmist vacillates between feeling confident in God and doubting God’s presence. What makes the situation worse is when the psalmist listens to those who taunt him and who, by their own doubts, causes him to question and doubt. In the end the Psalmist still knows God as his help and that praise and thanks to God will prevail over doubts and despair.


O God, we have been there and we have experienced that so we can relate to the feelings of the psalmist. We praise and thank You for not abandoning us and that hope triumphs over despair. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.