July 8, 2020·Mario Ortiz
Hey friends! This week, in our Pause Bible reading plan, we’re in the Psalms.
Psalm 42 is widely known. We’ve heard it in the church many times; however, we almost always read the first two verses and stop. “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” has even been included in several songs. But, if we keep reading, we realize the Psalmist is really struggling.
It seems like his circumstances are quite challenging. Verse 3 says that his enemies are mocking him and questioning, “Where is your God?” And then we re-read it in verse 10, except now he describes it as a deadly wound: “As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, ‘Where is your God?’”
In verses 5 and 11, he describes himself as “cast down” and “in turmoil.” In verse 3, we read that he’s been crying all day and night. The Psalmist feels abandoned, he feels discouraged. Have you ever felt that way?
But, amid pain, suffering, tears, turmoil, and mockery, he’s fighting for HOPE! In verse 5, he says, “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.” Did you catch that? He’s telling himself to HOPE in God. He’s saying to himself to PRAISE Him again! In other words, he’s preaching to himself! He’s preaching to his soul!
Today, I want to encourage you to do three things.
1. Preach to yourself.
Amid any adversity you may be facing, you can tell yourself things like:
If God is for me, who can be against me?
No weapon formed against me shall prosper!
Who shall separate me from the love of Christ?
Sing out! Praise the Lord, oh my soul!
2. Pray for yourself.
Cast down? Pray.
In pain? Pray.
Pray for yourself every day!
3. Remind yourself.
Remind yourself how many times God has moved on your behalf.
Remember how He’s made a way for you when it seemed like there was no way.
Remind yourself that if He did it before, He will do it again!
Before I close, let me share a personal story. On February 27, 2014, our daughter was born prematurely, at 24 weeks. She was so tiny that my wedding ring could fit up her leg! We were discouraged, cast down, in turmoil, and the doctor’s report was not favorable. In that hospital room, we would praise, worship, pray, and cry. We even created a playlist on our iPhone that we titled “Songs of Hope,” and several times a day, we would play the music and place the phone inside the incubator for our tiny Sarah to listen to… I would then put my arms around the incubator, throw myself on top, pray, cry, and hope for a miracle. We were fighting for HOPE! Those days that Sarah spent in the hospital were days we continually preached to ourselves that GOD could do a miracle. And, God did! Ninety-nine days after being in the NICU and seeing God do miracle after miracle, Sarah came home with us. Today, she is six years old, and every time I hold her, I’m reminded of how good God is and how present He is, even when we’re going through seasons of pain.
Pastor Mario Ortiz