Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God. (Psalm 42:11)
Psalm 42 and 43 were written when David was separated from Jerusalem. He laments at not being able to praise God in the Temple. During this time of his depression and separation from God, he recalls the past when his relationship with God was good and he rejoiced in participating in the worship processions in Jerusalem. The writer’s soul is cast down, but he enjoins it to hope in God, for, he says, “I shall again praise him, my help and my God.”
His lament is our lament. We long to praise God in His sanctuary once more; we want to gather together as a community; we want to pray together and receive at the Lord’s Table again; we are concerned that even during Holy Week we may not be able to go to Church. Like David, though, we remain faithful that we “shall again praise Him” and we know that He is our “help and my God” even – especially – during this time of separation, isolation and depression.
We are people of hope—people of the resurrected Christ. Throughout the Bible, hope is revealed as the most helpful condition of life, the most important attribute we hold and that which can even restore health and sustain life even in the starkest of circumstances. Even Job in all his suffering does not curse hope as a cruel tantalizer but laments the fact that his days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle and could come to their end without hope. Worse than his pain is the prospective loss of hope for a return to health. (Job 7:6-7)
The key to understanding the book of Job is the realization that our hope transcends the here and now. Apart from and ever-present God, we in fact have no hope. Job felt this way. He felt abandoned by God. Yet, as Christians, we are not abandoned. We are not alone. Our God became man. He was, is and always shall be with us. We believe in an ever present, an omnipotent and omnipresent God. He is always with us...even when we cannot go to Church.
St. Paul speaking about the body says, “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Cor. 5:1) This same verse can be applied to the “earthly tent” that is the brick and mortar church building, but the “house not made with hands” is still there. God’s Church is His people. God’s Spirit is “everywhere present and fills all things.” (Prayer to the Holy Spirit).