Balancing Hope and Despair

Ever have sleepless nights thinking of what you need to face during the next day? People often fear the night, but sometimes, your day might just be more fearful than the night. The turmoil you feel within may be unexplainable and without any solutions.
The psalmist said, “why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God (Ps 42:5).

I see three significant factors in this verse that are important for us to look out for. First, there is a recognition of his inner condition. Second, his reliance is on God alone. Third, he responded in praise. 


The psalmist spoke directly to himself “why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” If you’re not able to recognize that you are in despair, you could end up continuing down an emotional spiral. In effect, you’ll be clueless regarding the reality that you’re in. And if you don’t know you need help, you won’t seek out help. Then of course, you’ll continue to live in turmoil and ultimately get into such a rut that it becomes next to impossible to get out. 


It was a brief and powerful statement that the psalmist spoke to himself: “Hope in God.” It sounds too much like a cliché, but it is a simple and profound reality. All other sources of hope are temporary and feeble. God is your only source that is sustainable through life and beyond. 


In the midst of his turmoil, the psalmist says “for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” He recognized his pitiful condition, acknowledged his reliance on God, and responds in praise as he looks to the future. He’s confident that He’ll get through. He goes from despair to praise as he puts his hope in God. 

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