Why Do You Despair, Oh My Soul?
“Why do you despair, my soul, and groan?
In Regards to me, you must hope on God,
for again I will confess him—
Salvation is before him.”
(Psalm 42:6 [verse 5 in English translations])
What is your attitude when things start going bad and our plans fall apart? Is your first response to groan in despair? Is your first inclination to lament your misfortune? Yet, is not God in control? Does he not reign from on high in the heavens? Is not God the one who orders all things according to the counsels of his will (Ephesians 1:11)? Doesn’t our God own the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10)? And does he not care for his children more than the birds of the air (Matthew 6:26)? How often our lives are marked by worry, groaning, fear, and complaint.
The psalmist is reminding us that such is not to be the mark of our life. He is looking inward and saying to himself, “Why am I griping—why do I despair—do I not belong to God?” And indeed, we do belong to God if we are trusting in Christ as our Lord and Savior, so why do we despair? Why should we worry? It is the lot of the unbeliever to worry, but not of the one who is held in the hand of the almighty God of the universe. He has promised us salvation and he has promised us that he will work all of the events in our life out for good (Romans 8:28).
Thus, Christian, with the Psalmist, I call you to wait on God, trust him to work out the events of your life. When the way before you is dark and unclear, know that he is ordering your steps and will guide you; you shall not stumble and fall while resting in Him. And know, too, that salvation comes with him and with him alone—there is no other name by which man can be saved than by the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). And if this great promise belongs to us in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20), then where is there room to gripe and groan, oh, my soul?
Call Jehovah thy salvation, rest beneath th’Almighty’s shade.
In His secret habitation dwell, and never be dismayed.
There no tumult shall alarm thee, thou shalt dread no hidden snare.
Guile nor violence can harm thee, in eternal safeguard there.