by Grace Hunter

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
while men say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?” Psalm 42:1-3 NIV

The Psalmist used a familiar incident of his day, a deer searching for water,to express desperation. A better analogy for 21st century America might be to think of a dog after a long walk, panting for a drink of water. For both the deer and the dog, water is crucial to their survival, to their thriving, to their very life. The writer of Psalm 42 and 43 is also desperate. He is longing for God’s presence, for God’s rest, for the security found in God’s house. Read Psalm 42 and 43 in your favorite version.

What do you see? Do you see how the Psalmist feels? In the NIV he feels abandoned, rejected, forgotten, taunted, and he is mourning. Did you notice what the Psalmist does with those deep hurtful feelings, with his desperation for God? “These things I remember as I pour out my soul,” Psalm 42:4 NIV. He prays to God:  he pours out his soul, expresses his questions, his feelings of abandonment and rejection.

Did you see what the Psalmist asks for? He asks for vindication, to have joy again, to be able to be in God’s presence on His Holy Mountain, to have God plead his case before his enemies. When we are feeling wronged, do we go to God first? The Psalmist also asks for God to rescue him and for God’s light to guide him. Do we do the same? 

Did you notice that these two Psalms are essentially conversations between the Psalmist and God? As the Psalmist is praying, he “remembers” various truths about God, about how He acts, who He is and what He has done in the past. The Holy Spirit prompted retrospection; for finding answers to the Psalmist’s desperation. Let’s look at some of these things God reminds his servant of as he prays,

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.  Psalm 42:5, 11; 43:5 NIV


By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me–a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God my Rock,  Psalm 42:8-9a NIV

When we pour out our hearts to God in the midst of our desperation, then He may remind us of who He is, how He has acted in the past. We can put our hope in God. We can know we will praise Him again. We can be reassured of His love, His faithfulness; He can be our rock, our stronghold, and our light to guide us in circumstances, even in our difficult circumstances. 

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.