Summer ought to be a season when we’re able to rest well—a time we can spend with the Lord and His goodness. But, oftentimes, we actually fall out of healthy spiritual habits and end up trying to rest from the Lord instead of resting in Him.
That’s why we’ve created the Summer Selah Series. Over 40 days, we’ll be sharing daily devotions during a season where you may not feel very devoted.
Based on excerpts from his book Selah: Devotions From The Psalms For Those Who Struggle With Devotion, Ross Lester, our Pastor of Preaching and West Congregation Pastor, will provide readings from select Psalms, a brief devotional reflection, and some prayer points for each of the 40 days.
Take some time to read Psalm 43. Then, come back and read the following verse again.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.” (Psalm 43:5 ESV)
I struggle with my moods. I always have. I tend to waiver between being elated and pretty pumped up about stuff, to being quite despondent and downcast. It isn’t a total rollercoaster of emotion, but it also isn’t plain sailing with “Captain Consistent” by any stretch of the imagination.
A problem can creep in when we believe the caricature that much of Evangelical Christianity has created of itself. This caricature suggests that, in order to be a Christ follower, one is expected to be consistently chipper and chirpy.
Then, there is the Bible, and the Bible is full of moody folks who do their best to love God and follow Him. Church history is jam-packed full of difficult people who sometimes experience long, dark nights of the soul. It would seem that I am in good company in my gloominess.
Psalm 43 gives us the cure to perpetual glumness though. It would seem that the solution to being downcast isn’t to look further inward to figure it out there. In fact, the harder I examine my own dysfunction, the more cause for gloom and despair I have. The solution, according to the Psalmist, is to remember where hope lies.
Hope lies in the unchanging nature of God.
When I remember that He is eternal, then what I am facing today seems temporal and insignificant—that brings me joy. When I remember that He is unchanging, then my faithless despair is trumped by His faithful grace, love, and mercy—that brings me comfort. When I remember that He is sovereign, then even the largest obstacles in my life seem defeatable—that brings me hope. When I remember that He is loving enough toward me to have sent His Son to pay the price for my sin, then my rebellion, or even my obedience, doesn’t define me, but I am defined by the immovable righteousness of Christ which cannot be revoked—that gives me courage.
Are you downcast?
That’s okay. Remember God, and hope in Him.
Father God, when I am downcast I choose to remember You and Your faithfulness towards me. Remind me God again and again of how good You have been to me so that I don’t give in to the tyrannies of my moods. In Jesus’ name.
Ross Lester, Selah: Devotions From The Psalms For Those Who Struggle With Devotion (Magnolia, Texas: Lucid Books, 2017)