“Hope in God”

In Psalms 42 and 43 the writer is seeking after God in a time of distress. These are lament psalms in which the writer often expresses his disappointments, discouragement, sorrow, distress, even complaints to God. We learn from the psalmist how to respond in times of discouragement, distress even despair. He tells us three times how we ought to respond in difficult times – “Hope in God!” (42:5, 42:11, 43:5). Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance (Psalm 42:5).
It is often in times of distress that we seek God the most fervently. That the psalmist is experiencing a time of distress can be easily discerned. He wrote in 42:3, “My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, ‘Where is your God?’” The problem he faces has overwhelmed him – he is preoccupied with it day and night. If tears are his food maybe he’s lost his appetite, if they are his food day and night maybe sleep has also become scarce. You like the psalmist may have become preoccupied with your problems – it’s your waking thought, and the last one before you go to sleep, if you can sleep at all. It was at least partly to do with the oppression of his enemies that the psalmist felt this distress, and seemed to be depressed (42:9; 43:2). During this time of uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, and now add the ensuing chaos of George Floyd’s death, many are experiencing anxiety and depression. But there’s hope! That seems to be the point of these two psalms: In times of distress we have hope and that hope is in God.