5 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! Psalm 42:5
The words to the old gospel song ask: Why should I be discouraged? Why should the shadows come? …When Jesus is my portion, a constant friend is he. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me. I sing because I’m happy. I sing because I’m free. For his eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.
When I went to the online concordance to read what the scriptures had to say about discouragement, I was surprised by what I found. The majority of references to discourage were preceded by the phrase, “don’t be afraid.” Fear and discouragement are linked. Now I’m imagining that there are as many reasons to be discouraged as there are to be afraid. They will differ with the individual and their makeup. And I guess the connection makes sense when you consider that to be dis-couraged is to be without courage.
I also read Psalm 42 with a whole new perspective. Read verse 5 above. Read it quickly. Do not camp out at the end of the second question. That’s our tendency, isn’t it? We pitch our tent somewhere between Discouragement Village and Sadness City. But it seems to me that the writer of the Psalm wants to us to reconsider our pausing at that point. There’s no camping, no pity-me party, none of it! There is the resoluteness of the hymn writer: How can I be discouraged when Jesus is my portion? How can I be sad when my hope is in the God whose eye is ever on me, on you?
Perhaps this year has held changes that have felt way more than you could bear. Huge losses. Intense heartache. It may have seemed like you were swimming in a sea of why questions. The Psalmist doesn’t seem to wait for an answer for his why questions, he just automatically moves to hope and praise for his Savior and his God. Is it time to stop paddling in that same old pool? Is it time to surrender your ‘why’ and find hope and praise?
Maybe you want to sing along