Do you talk to yourself?
Sometimes—when I’m working on a project or problem—I’ll think things through by talking out loud to myself. I find it helpful, but it can be a little embarrassing if someone catches me—even though talking to ourselves is something we do every day.
The Jewish psalmists did the same thing and more. They wrote down their “conversations”. One psalmist challenged himself to experience inner peace by remembering God’s goodness: “Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you” (Psalm 116:7). He knew God’s goodness in the past can be a comfort and help in the present.
King David remembered things from the past that renewed his courage and confidence in the present. He recalled how God provided: (1) strength to protect his father’s sheep, (2) courage to oppose Goliath when no Israeli warrior would fight him, (3) savvy to rout and defeat his many enemies, and (4) conviction to admit his sin and make things right. And a lot more.
When David struggled, he often wrote and sang about what he was thinking and feeling. Three times he penned the same words, and challenged himself, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:5,11; 43:5).
Another time, David tells himself, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you.” (Psalm 42:5-6).
In those moments, David came to grips with his difficult circumstances and erratic emotions by talking to himself, remembering God’s greatness and goodness and putting his hope in God
In our moments, we can follow David’s example of hopeful thinking and living.
We may feel like the bottom is dropping out. The roof is caving in. The walls are collapsing. Things are falling apart—and we can’t do anything about it. We may feel insecure, vulnerable and defeated. We may think we’re outnumbered.
That’s why when life clobbers us with extra-giant-sized problems, it’s easy to lose perspective on what’s true about God—and hard to trust him. It’s easy to get discouraged—and hard to stay encouraged. It’s easy to lose hope—and hard to find it.
But always remember: when things look hopeless, and you feel helpless, you can trust and ask God for strength, hope and joy in the midst of your adversity.
So, next time you feel like giving up, refuse to take the easy road. Instead, recall the greatness and goodness of God. Remember him. Anchor your hope to him—and praise him. He’ll refresh your perspective, refuel your strength and recharge your hope!