Psalms 42:1-3—As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
The words of the first verse have become one of the most popular choruses in the church today. In the song, it is used as an expression of a desire to know God more intimately, but in the psalm, it is a cry for deliverance from his situation. It is reminiscent of Job when he pleaded to present his case before God. We don’t know what his cause for being in distress was. It may have been when he fled from Saul, or Absalom, or an illness. There are dark valleys, through which God takes us, that increase our desire for God. No one likes to go down them, but oh the maturing of our soul that comes from the pain. We long for the presence of God to be our hiding place from the troubles of this life, but sometimes He even withholds that from us. The dark night of the soul takes us from our apathetic level back up to climbing the heights of life in God. The pain draws us past our complacency and onward to heights of intimacy. The brokenhearted reading this can instantly relate to these words. Those who have not yet gone down this road, remember this, do not harden your heart in this place. If you do, you will come out bitter instead of better. The enemy of your soul will have won a double victory. He inflicted the pain and it will have borne the results that he desired. Instead, defeat him by allowing yourself to be even more tender and allowing your heart to break. The LORD is near the brokenhearted. It is a place where all your trust is on the faithfulness of God, though you cannot see any evidence. Those you have shared Christ with, who know you as a Christian will mock saying, “Where is your God?” He has promised to be near.