Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!
Psalm 42:5 (NLT)
Series Focus: “Rising From the Valley”
Who came up with the saying, “When it rains, it pours?” We use this phrase when something hasn’t happened in a while and then happens in large quantities. Although this idiom is used mainly to describe unpleasant things, we could well use it for good things. For example, if I went to a county fair and the vendors provided funnel cakes, cotton candy and popcorn—I would shout, “When it rains, it pours!” It doesn’t get much better than that.
And then we have a discouraging day. Not just a “something went wrong” day. But a day everything feels hard, brings tears, and takes us by storm. That’s the pouring I could do without. What do you do when it rains? Does your soul submit to the circumstances and get waterlogged, or does it cry out in thirst for He who can help you?
We are so parched on those heavy days; we chase the wrong stream. We jump head first in the stream of regret, helplessness, defeat, or despair. Forgetting all the while, our creator provides us the living water found only in Jesus. Let’s open God’s word to Psalm 42:1-3 and read what the Sons of Korah write about this very topic:
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” (ESV)
We have been walking through some mighty big valleys together for the past few weeks. In those dark places, we have learned that God is watching over us, fighting for us, strengthening us, and protecting us. Knowing these statements are true, when asked, Where is your God?—you can respond—He is with me.
When your soul aches and walls feel like they are closing in, you must believe He is still with you. When all you want to do is cry, take courage and raise your head. Search your heart for what your soul is longing for. Do you yearn for closeness with Jesus? Do you meet with Him in worship and lift His name above all others? Have you been building your relationship with Jesus so you can stand on His promises no matter what?
There will always be something holding your attention, always a desire to chase, and always a need to fill. If you are swimming in the wrong stream, grab that life preserver now. Don’t settle for a momentary splash in the pool of instant relief or false contentment, only to find yourself there again tomorrow. Surround yourself with women who want the truth, the living water Jesus offered so long ago to the overwhelmed woman at the well.
The Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
(John 4:9-10 ESV)
If you are standing in the rain, without an umbrella, may I encourage you before you become soaked through? Cry if you need to cry. Be sad, be mad, call out to God and ask Him where He is. Be ready because, if you seek Him, you will find Him. (Yes, I know I have said this multiple times – because it is true.) Then, dwell in the shelter of the Most High, cling to Him with all you have, and as your soul is filled with His love and peace you will understand what it means for your soul to thirst for Him alone.
Holding Fast to Hope,
Reflection: Have you had a season of “pouring?” Think about how you have responded. Do you get defeated easily or does it take a lot to overwhelm you? Take a few moments to draw near to God in prayer or meditation. Search for scriptures to help you stand on His promise to always be with you. Look up and tell God how you feel, what you need, and ask Him to work His will in your life. The picture you have painted may look differently than the one God has prepared for you. Are you ready to unveil it? Receive it? Take courage, let Him fill you with living water!
Scripture References: Psalm 42, 91; Psalm 27, 28, 30, 31; John 4:7-42