The Lord’s Unfailing Love

Psalm 42 is the appointed psalm for Sunday, February 14th. As I reread it last week, my mind journeyed back to the first time I sang some of its words during an evening worship service at a church in South Florida. I am sure many of you recall singing “As the Deer.” In case you do not remember the song, here are the lyrics.

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after thee
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship thee

You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship thee

You’re my friend and You are my brother
Even though you are a king
I love you more than any other
So much more than anything

I want You more than gold or silver
Only You can satisfy
You alone are the real joy Giver
And the apple of my eye

You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship thee

Although this song captures the optimism of Psalm 42, it passes over the dark night of the soul which moves the psalmist to pen and pray this desperate prayer. Exiled in a foreign country far from the Holy Land and God’s Holy Temple, the psalmist expresses his overwhelming concern for the troubles that surround him (verses 3, 9b-10), he laments his grave sense of feeling far from the God who protects him (verses 2 and 4), and he frames his earnest desire to experience God’s presence in tangible ways once again (verses 5 and 11).

Even if the song’s lyrics omit the psalmist’s despair, they do proclaim its prominent message: Confident hope that God is for us, especially in difficult times. With this hope in mind, we can safely ask the same questions asked by the psalmist: “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?”

Why can we ask them? Because we know that each day “the LORD pours his unfailing love upon us” and “gives us life.” So worship Him, your Savior, and your God!

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