Krista Schoenheider Kaplan
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.” Psalm 43:5
The stress of the pandemic has taken its toll on many of us. We have longed for normalcy — to travel freely, to gather without masks, to visit loved ones without fear of endangering them. We have often felt isolated and discouraged. When will it end? Will it end?
The psalmist (who also wrote the closely related Psalm 42) feels isolation and discouragement as well. As a temple priest or musician, he longs to make his beloved pilgrimage to Jerusalem to lead worship, but he lives in exile, far away. He loves God deeply but feels abandoned by him. He suffers taunting and persecution by his enemies. He wavers between hope and despair.
Yet rather than surrender to depression, he gives himself a pep talk. He holds fast to the hope that God’s light and truth will someday lead him to Jerusalem and the temple, where he will worship and praise God, his “exceeding joy” (v. 4), once more. His hope allows him to lift his eyes out of the darkness toward light, from despair to hope. The uncertainty remains, but his deeply personal and empowering words show us a path forward from our own isolation and discouragement. Hope in God will never fail us.
Dear God, you are our rock and our salvation. Instill in our hearts a faith that holds fast to our hope in you. During times of darkness and uncertainty, send out your light and your truth to lead us. We praise you and rejoice in you always. Amen.