“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 my God.”
This refrain in Psalm 42 has felt especially meaningful recently. We say it to ourselves, grateful for the reminder that there IS still hope in God. We are grieving for 2 friends in the U.S. who passed away in the last few weeks. Just in the last 3 days, we have learned of 3 deaths of people we knew in our community here. We sat yesterday with the pastor of the church at Munkamba, where we stayed for a month of language learning this year. He shared about a sickness that swept the community in the last few months, killing young children. At one point 3 or 4 children were dying per day, within one small village. We grieve, and feel overwhelmed. Despite how communication and speed of travel make the world feel ‘smaller’, we feel very far away when we can not be physically present with those we love during significant life events.
We have both also gone through bouts of discouragement in the last week. When I was feeling down and hopeless last week, Psalm 42 came to mind. I appreciate that the psalmist seems to be talking to himself, to the soul. Hope is a choice, especially the aspect of where we put our hope. The following day, we went to a prayer meeting, and I prayed for freedom from the hopelessness and discouragement that I was in, and asked God to help me hope in Him. Within the next day, I felt encouraged, and reassured that “I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” We persevere in hope, in spite of the grief and the things that discourage us. God is with us!