Psalm 42

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    ‘Where is your God?’
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Saviour and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
    the heights of Hermon – from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me –
    a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock,
    ‘Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?’
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
    as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
    ‘Where is your God?’

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Saviour and my God.

 

There’s a common school of thought that sees humans a tri-partite beings – body, soul and spirit. The soul being the seat of our mind, will and emotions: the place where we make our conclusions and decisions. I’ve heard this being expanded on to say that our body must submit to our soul, our soul submit to our spirit and our spirit submit to the Spirit of God. I’m not sure whether or not this psalm would back up that model, but I think there’s a helpful picture here of how we can cheer our soul on. Sometimes we need to speak to ourselves – I do this all the time – out loud and in my car. I’m probably bonkers. It kind of works though: I can encourage myself by speaking aloud. If the aforementioned model is true, imagine the impact of a spirit in communion with the Spirit of God, speaking to the soul to effect change in the body – that is the things that we actually get on and do and say…

Questions for thought and discussion

  • If this model were at work in every moment of today, how do you think it would look different?
  • How can we help our young people to become more aware of the Spirit’s leading?

Jenny Cheung

Jenny is the Independent Schools’ Worker in west & central Scotland. She’s also a mum of three and has a passion for the gym and the community choir she directs (the last two are not related!).