There is a pattern characteristic to many Psalms. The Psalmist voices a prayer or a concern as in Psalm 43, “Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against ungodly people . . .” There is an expression of frustration and confusion as God does not seem to act quickly enough, “For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you rejected me?” Even though He is discouraged, the Psalmist makes a request of God knowing full well what God can do, “Send our your light and your truth; let them lead me.” The writer then ends the Psalm with a note of hope that encourages him in the trial, “Why are you downcast, 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.”
During the good seasons of our lives it is important to harvest hope.
It is not difficult to call life to a halt and wrestle with God when we do not like the current circumstances. When we need vindication. When we need defense. When we are falsely accused or people have faulty perceptions of who we are. When our accounts are low. When health fails . . .we know exactly how darkness feels. We are well acquainted with these seasons and we feel incredibly free to go to God with the solemn prayer, “WHAT’S THE DEAL?”
God pauses. Nothing is said in return. The dark season continues. Why, God?
Unfortunately for us the Psalmist never figures out why God pauses, but he does something that is critically important to our faithfulness. The Psalmist pulls from harvested hope. Even though life is difficult, he always has a memory of something he has held onto that encourages his faithfulness. In Psalm 43 his harvested hope appears in verse 4, “Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.” Because he has experienced God’s blessings in the past he can pray with confidence, “Send our your light . . .let them bring me to your holy hill.” He has been there before. He harvested the experience and so now even in discouragement and frustration he is able to pray with confidence and stay faithful.
When life is good, harvest hope. Can it. Preserve it. Put it on the shelf. Save it for later!
Acquaint yourself well with the blessings of God. Praise Him for what He has done for you. PULL OUT YOUR LYRE (or your banjo, the latest Passion CD, an old Petra album, whichever is convenient) AND PLAY BABY PLAY! Harvest a song. Harvest a feeling. Harvest a memory. Harvest TRUTH! Memorize a verse. You will need it. Discouraging times will come again and inexplicably God will pause even though we fervently pray. Yet you can remain faithful because you can sustain yourself from harvested hope, knowing what God has done, He will do again.