“Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”
When I’m feeling hopeful about life or about a specific circumstance it’s easy for me to sing this classic hymn at church on a Sunday morning, in my car between errands, or while I clean the kitchen. When hope is abundant, the truth I’m proclaiming at the top of my lungs feels accessible. True. Helpful. Affirming.
But if I’m struggling to hope, when I’m sad, and when I can’t see a way out of the current situation, I have a hard time singing. The truth mocks me. The enemy twists it and the lump in my throat on a Sunday morning is tangible.
What’s that all about? What’s the connection? Why is it so hard to speak of God’s faithfulness when I need it most? Am I the only one who wrestles with this?
A quick perusal of the book of Psalms tells me I’m not alone.
“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.” Psalm 42:5
This exact verse is repeated three times in the span of just two chapters (see also Psalm 42:11 and Psalm 43:5). The psalmist has to tell himself to hope in God. More than once! Over and over he reminds himself that God is his salvation. He consciously decides to praise God as the fitting response for his downcast soul.
Feeling hopeless makes it really hard to praise God, but I think it’s the only real “cure”. Somehow, hope and praise are connected; one begets the other. Consider Psalm 13. It begins with:
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”
and ends with,
“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”
What if the answer for hopelessness is praise? Choosing to say and sing the things that are true about God, even as your heart struggles to hope. This is how we exercise our faith. Fight the enemy. Cultivate hope. Consciously decide to believe that what God says about Himself really is true, even when it doesn’t “feel” like it.
When I am fighting hopelessness, my best weapon is to rehearse truth. Loudly. Often. In every song I can think of. Like the psalmist, I have to remind myself that God is my salvation. I have to rejoice in it. I have to sing it and rehearse that He has dealt bountifully with me in offering Christ as my righteousness.
Are you lacking hope today, friend? Worship the Lord! Turn up the radio, click on a Spotify worship playlist, or grab that iPod that’s been collecting dust. Praise Him, our salvation!
“Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord.” Psalm 150:6