Tuesday, January 14, 2014, 7:00 a.m. – I lay in bed awake, wondering if it was yet the middle of the night or the morning, since it was still dark, and whether I should get up or not. The Lord Jesus very gently whispered the song in my ear “He Keeps Me Singing.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 42 (NIV). As The Deer I love this passage of scripture! The psalmist knew how to paint word pictures to illustrate his desire for God. If you have ever been truly thirsty to where you panted for water and could not wait until you could get a cool drink of water, and then you did, and your thirst was quenched, and your entire being felt the refreshment and satisfaction of a longing fulfilled, then you can, perhaps, begin to identify with what the psalmist is expressing here. Oh, that our souls would pant for the living God!! And, that we would desire like this to meet with him each day. How many times in our lives do we pant (long) for everything and anything but God? We look to so many things of this world to satisfy the deep longings of our hearts – things that will never satisfy and that will only leave us empty, going deeper and deeper into sin, with a hangover of guilt and shame. Will we never learn that only our God can satisfy the deep longings of our souls? Praise Jesus who has delivered us from endless wandering and fruitless deeds of darkness and has brought us into his wonderful light! Amen! Through him and in him our souls can be satisfied with his love, mercy, grace, salvation, forgiveness, kindness, comfort, correction, encouragement, hope and healing. Because Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, we can come boldly into the throne of grace to find mercy and grace in times of trouble. We can enter into his presence day and night and be satisfied with his love and grace. Tears Day and Night The psalmist was suffering greatly at the hands (and/or words) of his enemies (opponents). His enemy then seized the opportunity of the psalmist’s misery to cruelly taunt and to reproach him with incessant malice, suggesting that the psalmist’s trust in God was for naught. This only added to his tears, not just because he was being persecuted without cause, but that his God was being attacked, as well, and his Lord’s sovereignty was being brought into question. “If God was really there, then why did he allow the psalmist to suffer so?” was what was suggested when they jeered at him. His enemies were questioning the very faithfulness of Almighty God. And, that brought much added grief to the psalmist’s heart and many more tears to his eyes already wet with sorrow and suffering. It is painful enough to have our relationships with our Lord Jesus brought into question without cause and without reason, but it is even more painful to our hearts when those who do so misrepresent our God and his word of truth. I can more easily (though not easily) receive the rebuke of others against my own person than I can receive their misrepresentations of my Lord and of his word. Yet, there will, at times, be those in our lives who will attack us unfairly and without reason, and perhaps even with incessant malice because they do not understand us - who we are - and they do not comprehend our relationships with Jesus Christ; and/or because they truly do not understand or accept the teachings of scripture nor the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer and servant of the Lord, as we all should be who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus said we would be hated, so, although painful, it should not surprise us when we are treated thus. Sad but Hopeful It sounds here as though the psalmist is counseling himself. He is questioning himself as to why he has allowed himself to become so downcast over this situation of these attacks from his foes. Why has he allowed this to disturb him so much? He should put his hope in God, believing that God has allowed this in his life for a purpose, and that God will use it in his life for good, and that God will get the glory through it all. Amen! And, instead of letting this disturb him to tears, he should praise his Lord in word, in prayer and in song. I know I have done something similar to him at times in my life when I came to the realization of how I was letting something like to this impact me in a related fashion. Sometimes we just need to step back from a situation and evaluate it and think about our responses and what our own reactions are saying about us and about how we view God. If we truly believe that God loves us, and that he has our best in mind always, then we must accept that he has allowed us to suffer the hatred, the persecution, and the incessant and cruel taunts of our enemies, and we are to rejoice that we share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, knowing that God will work all things out for good in the lives of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose. He’s Always There I find this so comforting and encouraging. God is always with us if we have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. No matter what comes our way, he will never leave us or forsake us. Amen! His love, comfort, peace, joy and strength will sustain and will encourage our hearts throughout the day and throughout the night. I love that he gives us songs, too, because music touches my heart, which is how he created me to be. He speaks to me in many ways, showing me his love, his grace, his mercy, his compassion and kindness, and directing me in the way he would have me go. One of the ways in which he speaks is through song – some that others have written and some that he gives me to write. They serve as such wonderful gifts from my Lord to encourage and strengthen my heart day and night. Praise his holy name! He gives good gifts to those he loves! Although he sometimes leads through waters deep, we need to see his footprints all the way. And, we need to put our hope and trust in him, believing that he will work all things out for good. He Keeps Me Singing / Luther B. Bridgers There's within my heart a melody Jesus whispers sweet and low: Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still, In all of life's ebb and flow. Though sometimes he leads through waters deep, Trials fall across the way, Though sometimes the path seems rough and steep, See his footprints all the way. Soon he's coming back to welcome me Far beyond the starry sky; I shall wing my flight to worlds unknown; I shall reign with him on high. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Sweetest name I know, Fills my every longing, Keeps me singing as I go.