Where are You God When my Soul is Downcast?

Psalms 42-43

By Tanja

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour, and my God. 

Psalms 43:5
AdobeStock photo. Water pouring on hand in morning light background.

When I was a preteen, I was on a missions trip with other preteens and teenagers that involved creative performances in Estonia. I was so excited about moving from park to park and exploring Estonia at that time. We did a lot of walking, and I remember drinking cordial but still being thirsty, as I also needed water to drink. Have you ever had circumstances where you haven’t consumed enough clean water to keep you hydrated. What about your soul? Have you had a thirsty soul? A day where you have felt like you need God to satisfy you, but it seems like you’ve been left in the desert to – die? Wait! Why are you there?  

A rose in the rain, by Tanja
A rose in the rain, by Tanja

Do you know those days when you feel less confident in your actions? Maybe it’s just that your abilities and capabilities are tested, and when the last thing you do is the thing that uses your best skill, you feel weak in that, too; then you wonder. 

To describe what I’m trying to say in another way: if you were an instrumentalist or singer, and you loved your craft, but when you get up on the stage, you get stage fright. You’re simultaneously excited but also nervous and scared. Still, you risk playing your instrument or singing. You could make a mistake or land on a wrong note, but strength, like a lion, will somehow hold you through.

In those moments, whether it’s just playing music or doing life, we could be reminded that the Lord strengthens us. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 Saint Paul talks about God making him strong even when the enemy slowed him down. God told Paul, “I will make you strong to show my grace”. So, God’s power is seen in Paul’s weak moments. The same also applies to your less confident days.

The hope found in Psalms 43:5 is that even though things weren’t going too well, the Psalmist says, I will yet praise Him, my Saviour! Even when it feels like you can’t even praise the Lord, there is hope that God will give you the strength to praise Him. You can say it with words, “I will yet praise you, God!” You can sing it as a song, “I will yet praise you, my Lord!” You can proclaim your victory and move in faith! God will still move this mountain! Claim that.

Psalms 42 and Psalms 43 are said to be Psalms that were originally one Psalm; throughout the two Psalms, there are lines of a chorus that are repeated that easily suggest the link.[1] The two Psalms are the first books of the second part of the Psalms collection, written by the Sons of Korah. 

These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the Lord after the ark came to rest there. They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them.

1 Chronicles 6:31-32

Psalms 42 is a Psalm that teaches the reader that we aren’t alone if God feels far away.[2] Are you desperate for the presence of God or desperate to worship God? The Psalmists in Psalm 42 felt like they were a deer stranded in the desert without water to drink.[3]

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.

Psalms 42:1

The Bible tells us of a desperation to worship God, and we should realize how much there is a need in our hearts to worship Him. Therefore, since we have the opportunity to worship God, let us worship, rejoice and delight in Him. Let us understand the privilege we have. 

Moore points out that even though the Psalmists were like a thirsty deer in the desert, God also caused waves and waterfalls to roar in verse 6.[4] These waterfalls are crashing waves of disappointment.[5] So, the Psalmists felt God had abandoned them even further. As the Psalms start with the Psalmists having no water, and now the waters are boundless, I would think that there is an answer to the question of “God, will you give us water?” with an abundant flow and satisfaction. As much as this may seem an answer to prayer that the waters came and you are thirsty no longer, there is such a thing as too much water that you might drown, or you are washed away by it. For example, seeing floods in Australia in recent years, where the floods have kept flowing and flowing while destroying towns, houses, and places, leaving people homeless; too much water might not always be what we need and what can sustain us.

In summary, sometimes our soul might seem ‘downcast’, and we experience less confident days. What’s the advice from Saint Paul in the Scriptures? – To let God’s grace carry you through a situation where you are tested. What is the hope we can find? – The promise that we will still be able to praise God. Praising Him can bring us joy. What do you do when your soul is thirsty for God? Know that God will meet you.


Dear Jesus,

I need to look to You and lift my eyes to see You. Tell my soul that You are my hope and will fill me with Your goodness. I can trust in You, now and forever.


[1] Robert L. Alden, Psalms, Everyday Bible commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2019), 106.

[2] Phil Moore, Straight to the Heart of Psalms: 60 Bite-Sized Insights (Oxford: Monarch Books, 2013), 92.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

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