Hope in God

October 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Psalm 43 is the third part of a larger unit that includes Psalm 42.  Psalm 42-43 includes an identical refrain repeated three times:  “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” (Psalm 42:3; 42:11; and 43:5).  Rolf Jacobson writes the following about Psalm 43:  “This psalm is a song for those moments when one doesn’t feel like singing. It is a poem of faith for those cold nights when one doesn’t feel the flames of faith flickering too warmly in one’s soul. It is a psalm for those times when one feels separate from God.”  This experience of separation from God is already evident in Psalm 42 (see verses 1-2).  And it leads to the question posed to God, “why have you cast me off?” (43:2).  Many Christians think it is not appropriate to acknowledge such feelings or to question God in such a manner.  And yet, writes Jacobson, “Such questions aimed at God are not the sign of a weak faith or an absent faith. Rather, such questions are typical of the tenacious faith of the psalmists. Indeed, such challenges to God should be understood as one of the characteristic marks of true biblical faith.”  It is during such a process of wrestling with God that true hope emerges, namely a hope that gives up on relying on anything within the self, but rather find hope outside of the self in the only One that is trustworthy in situations like this.  Hope in God is approaching our day with a vision firmly focused on God’s ability to show up in the midst of any circumstances this day can deliver.

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