Hope In Despair

Psalm 43 is entitled a “prayer for deliverance.” Isn’t that what we are longing for today? To be delivered from all the confusion and uncertainty of what’s happening in our world right now? We need deliverance on all accounts, both as a nation in turmoil, and in our personal lives in a hundred different ways. Whatever situation you find yourself facing today, this psalm gives us insight on the source of our deliverance.

The five short verses could be outlined as follows:

Verse 1 – The problem: I’m surrounded by or experiencing ungodliness, injustice, deceitfulness.

Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation;
O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!

Verse 2 – The confusion about the problem: I know God is able to fix this, so why do I feel rejected, sad, and oppressed?

For You are the God of my strength; why have You rejected me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

Verse 3 – The solution: I need God’s light (to see things clearly) and truth (to know what’s real) so that I can experience His presence.

O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling places.

Verse 4 – The response: I repent of any wrong thoughts or actions (God’s altar) and worship Him.

Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God.

Verse 5 – The conclusion: I’m no longer in despair or disturbed in heart; instead I find hope in God that causes me to have a completely new outlook on the current circumstance.

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.

Notice what did not happen. The circumstances did not change. Deliverance (in this case) did not (yet) come in the form of being released from the problem. Deliverance came when the psalmist started to view the circumstance through God’s light and truth.

Only God can shed light on what’s happening in our lives. From our perspective, it’s not fair or just. God helps us see clearly what He’s up to. We know from other scripture that God is always moving and working to bring people to salvation. The thread of redemption began in the Garden of Eden and weaves its way throughout the myriads and myriads of details of the lives of billions and billions of people down through the history of mankind. God is building His kingdom, and the circumstances of our lives are all woven together to bring us to the knowledge of Christ.

Only God can show us what’s true, and what’s real. If we only look at the surface of the injustice of what’s happening (or happened) to us, or the deception and ungodliness that is rampant in our world, we will be in despair. We will be so disturbed we will give up. But if we know what’s true…that God’s kingdom is coming, we are able to navigate through the circumstance in full confidence that He is still in control and has a plan.

If we really want to see things clearly and know what’s real, we have to be willing to follow the path that leads us to God. In His presence, anything that needs His loving hand of correction will be exposed, as we kneel at the ultimate, final altar of the cross where Jesus gave His life in exchange for our sin. Only then will we find real hope and the deliverance we so desperately need. Only there do things make sense. That’s where real hope begins and ends… hope that will sustain you until the kingdom comes.

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