God uses creation to speak to us and point us in His direction.
Our reading today is Psalm 42 which was written by one of the "sons of Korah." (During David's time the Sons of Korah were a group of Levites who were leaders in choral and orchestral music in the tabernacle.)
This beautiful psalm is the story of someone who is dealing with a combination of depression, doubt, burnout and disillusionment. Their crisis of faith has been mocked and criticised and they find themselves in a low place.
The Psalm opens with an image from nature: "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God." This line has captured our attention and the attention of hymn and chorus writers across the ages.
In the middle of the Psalm the writer makes a conscious decision to point his soul in the direction of faith and trust:
5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and 6 my God.
What stands out is what he does next:
"My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you..."
The way he remembers is to go on a tour of creation:
He tours the Jordan valley. He visits Mount Mizar. He stands before a waterfall and a wave-tossed ocean. He reflects on the gift of the day and the quiet of the night which helps him hear God's song.
This leads to an unburdening of his soul and a reaffirmation of his decision to keep focus on God.
The beautiful lesson of this Psalm is how the writer finds himself in a tough place emotionally and spiritually, and takes himself on a "nature retreat" that helps him find his strength in God.
May we learn to do this too! Take time to read this psalm slowly and thoughtfully and try to imagine the author's journey as vividly as possible and apply this to your own soul...