What To Do When Your Heart is Sad!

Psalm 42

A Fawn painted by my talented sister, Kathy.

“As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God.”

Psalm 42:1-2a

We were in Israel a little over a year ago. It was a trip of a lifetime, one I hope God allows me to repeat. The lack of tourism during the Pandemic had undoubtedly taken its toll, and it was evident that the Israeli people had struggled to keep their businesses afloat. No matter where we went, the people thanked us for coming. We were one of the few tour groups back in the country after the Covid shutdown. There was just a short window of time when our group was allowed in, and just as quickly as the government had opened things up, they shut it down again.

We saw site after site that made the Bible come alive, but one site that touched me deeply was a waterfall at the headwaters of the Jordan.  It was at Banias Nature Reserve. It wasn’t an easy climb down and back, especially post-knee replacement surgery, but it was worth every step.  

The loudness of the falls could be heard from far away.  And its beauty was breathtaking. Honestly, I had difficulty leaving when the tour was moving on.  Our tour guide told us that scholars believe those rushing waters were the waters the Psalmist stood at as he wrote these words in Ps 42, I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.  These falls could undoubtedly be described as the sound of the raging sea.

Take a minute and take in these words from Psalm 42:5-8 NLT:

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! 
I am deeply discouraged,
    but I will remember you—
even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan,
    from the land of Mount Mizar.
I hear the tumult of the raging seas
    as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.
But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,
    and through each night I sing his songs,
    praying to God who gives me life.

This Psalm is one of my favorites.  I love how the Psalmist is truthful about his discouragement, trying to hide nothing from his readers.  His heart is heavy.   We don’t know all the specifics of why, but we do know he struggles to keep himself upright. He describes his heart as SAD!  Have you been there, friend?  Just living with a sad heart?  

It isn’t easy and isn’t somewhere we want to stay long.  

So in his haste to move from discouragement to hope, this man, the descendent of Korah, writes the following line, reminding himself where his hope must be placed.  “I WILL, he says, put my hope in God.  I WILL praise him again, my Savior and my God.”  

Now, this is big! Really, BIG!  Big because so many of us forget that we have a big God who is not asleep at the wheel.  He isn’t inattentive, and he isn’t uninvolved.  He doesn’t lose track of where we are or our difficult circumstances. 

The beautiful truth is that if Jesus is your Savior, he is right inside of you.  No one can get closer than that.  Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:17, “Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust him.”  What a truth!  One that should make our hearts soar with HOPE.  He is so, so close!  As far as I know, no other religion in this world claims that Almighty God, through his Holy Spirit, resides in a trusting man’s heart.  Breath that truth in! 

Okay, so what I love about Psalm 42 is how the psalmist begins.  He writes, “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God.”  This Psalmist was hurting and sad, yet his first words of this psalm would be the answer to all the rest of his laments!

The answer to his saddness was longing for God- leaning on the One who could end his discouragement and bring healing to the sadness of his heart. 

Friend, if you are where the psalmist was, allow your thirst for the living God to quench the sadness of your situation.  He is within you, closer than you can even imagine. He longs to comfort you, and desires to be your great HOPE.

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6 thoughts on “What To Do When Your Heart is Sad!

  1. Needed to read this !!! He will lift me up and show me that He lives inside me. Such comfort that gives me.


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