by Elaine Pierce
When I was in college, I attended Park Street Congregational Church in downtown Boston. Park Street was a stop on the Freedom Trail, and it had a rich history - begun in 1809 - of proclaiming the gospel. The associate pastor was a dear older gentleman, and he didn't get many opportunities to preach. He often led the congregation in prayer, and sometimes it seemed that he'd sneak a sermon or two into those prayers. He almost always ended his prayers with the phrase "accompany them with restlessness until they find their rest in thee." That was my signal that the prayer was almost over. I didn't know until much later that those words were not original with him - St. Augustine said them centuries before.
I hope, as always, that you will read the entire psalm. Today we are looking at the first seven verses, and the psalmist expresses his doubts and fears - his restlessness. Take a look:
"My soul pants for you, O God
My soul thirsts for God...
When can I go and meet with God?
men say to me - 'Where is your God?'
I pour out my soul;
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?"
He sounds uncertain of God, doesn't he? He's calling out to God, he's pouring out his heart, his soul, but he isn't hearing from God. Such honesty! He's not sugar coating his sense of loneliness, of abandonment.
Take time to read both Psalm 42 and 43 together. You will see deep doubt, deep fear, but even deeper trust and faith in the only one who will make you whole. We have been designed for eternity, and this world is temporal. We know deep in our hearts that there is more - Pascal called it the "god-shaped vacuum." The psalmist cries out to God, and ultimately, he rests in the certainty that the only answer that makes sense is to "put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." (v. 11)
Lord, at times you seem far away. But I know it's me who has moved, not you. Help me to rest in the sure knowledge that you love me, you sent your son to die for me, and you will come again. You will make all things new. Amen.