Why Are You Cast Down?

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God, for I will again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 42:5

I have been burdened down by the troubles of the world – which is, I suppose, natural considering our fallen state… But lately I have been recognizing things – whether it be flaws in relationships, or the “unfinished-ness” of the talents that I do possess, or the state of our country (which is very sad.)  And tonight, my heart spun around a few times, and thumped against my body as though it sent a message to my brain, for I immediately thought: “Why are you cast down, O my soul?”  And it amazed me because I’ve never actually memorized that verse, but the words hit me right there, and I was led to the Scriptures to find the verse.  The entire thing read: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I will again praise him, my salvation and my God.”  That triggered another memory.  “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!”  And I thought: “Why are you cast down, O my soul? What right have you to complain?”  I put my chin in my hands, and closed my eyes very tight.  The words rang in my ears – “Be still, my soul… be still…” And I could not help but think: “Christ has done so much for me… Why are you cast down? Why do you worry? Where is your faith?”  My mind reeled put on its brakes and I was jerked to a stop.  Where is my faith? Is my faith placed in the strength and power of men, or my imagination, or even the weather? Is it placed anywhere except in God?

The thought scares me.  It scares me as much as the blue hairy monster with yellow teeth under my bed scared me when I was seven.  And I was pretty scared then.  If my faith isn’t placed in God, what foundation do I have?  “How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in his excellent word! What more can he say than to you he has said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled!” And yet, if my faith is not laid in him (or his word) that is hardly a firm foundation.  No wonder my soul is cast down within me!  I have been guilty of not reading my bible, thereby feeding my faith.  My faith has weakened, and I have not trusted in God… It is amazing to me when I consider this wonderful thing: when my trust is placed in princes and chariots, I worry.  I begin to question the strength of men.  It is as though I have no stability.  When my trust is placed in God, I feel free of anxiety.  To me, trust is like a wonderful mystery. Something I cannot comprehend.  It means to me not only have faith that God will do this or that (or rather everything), but it means peace. A river of peace. Have you ever felt that wave of peace sweep over your soul?  Have you ever felt that, and had this knowledge – this mysterious knowledge – that somehow, He has it all under control, and nothing is beyond him?  That we belong to him? That we’re hiding in the shelter of his wing?

“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roar – whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, ‘it is well, it is well with my soul!'”

I want to say this.  I don’t want to say, during the sad times when I want to lament 24/7, “Ah, why are you cast down, O my soul?” I want to say: “It is well with my soul!”  There is a knowledge that allows me to say this… It is the knowledge of something too wonderful for me to grasp.  The knowledge that my Lord, my beloved Lord and Savior has saved me from something so terrible I cannot even imagine it… the fact that he loves me with an everlasting love, that he will never let anything come between him and me, that he sacrificed his only Son who was humiliated in his birth and death, that I might be saved.  Ah, ah holy savior!  I crucified thee, and thou hast saved me!  What love is this! What wondrous, beautiful, terrible love!

Why are you cast down, O my soul? Are these cares of the world so large that they loom up against the brilliant image of Christ, and seem to be of greater importance than what he has done?

“Hope in God, for I will again praise him, my salvation and my God.”

Do not be cast down, my soul

Though my hope is in a lull

Again I will trust my God and raise

A song to Him of sweetest praise.

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