Reformed Theology

Words for the Wind

To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah.

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.

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 and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God, my rock:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?”
As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”

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 and my God.
–Psalm 42, ESV

From a May 2008 Sermon called Spiritual Depression in the Psalms by John Piper:

What does he mean when he says, “Why have you forgotten me?” when his head knows he has not forgotten him? Why does he say that? He says it, because that’s what it feels like… And everybody knows that’s what it feels like, and only a few are honest enough to say that that’s what it feels like. However, God has not forgotten him, and he knows it. Now, what does that tell us? … If you care about people in pain, you need to learn this lesson…

The phrase is “words for the wind” … It comes from Job 6:26… Job, you remember, surrounded by these three friends. They’re beating up on him big-time verbally, saying all kinds of things about him– totally unhelpfully–about his condition of suffering. And he responds to them this way: He says, “Do you think that you can reprove words when the speech of a despairing man is wind?” What does that mean? That means, “Please don’t be picky about my language when I’m in pain! If I say, ‘God, why have you forgotten me,’ don’t lecture me on the fact that God never forgets his own. Do that later. Don’t be picky with my language. It’s a ‘wind word’, it’s gonna to be blown away. There will be plenty of time for you to see my life, that I’m a true lover of God and I’ll stand with him no matter what. Don’t–”

I think that’s the point. So, if you care about people and you’ve got a robust theology of suffering like I hope we do here and somebody says something theologically inappropriate, let it go. It’s going to be blown away. A month later they’re going to look back on those horrible moments and they’re going to think, “Am I glad God didn’t strike me dead.” And he didn’t, and you shouldn’t.

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