Finding Solace in Nature
David's songs of inner turmoil don't offer easy answers; he's too realistic for that. David had seen the lowest of lows several times in his life, so he knew that counting your blessings won't work every time. Sometimes, we get so low that no memory will jar us loose from our turmoil. In Psalm 42:6–8, David offers another technique.
O my God, my soul is in despair within me;
Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan
And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.
The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime;
And His song will be with me in the night,
A prayer to the God of my life.
Look at that unusual expression: "Deep calls to deep." The songwriter evidently traveled from Jerusalem to northern Galilee, where the Jordan River originates on Mount Hermon. In the song, he pictures himself on one of the smaller peaks in the Mount Hermon range. In his mind he thinks of those awesome sounds and scenes surrounding him—as "deep calls to deep," as God communicates through nature and the unchanging, immutable relationship is enacted. In this case, the snow melts high upon Mount Hermon's peaks, causing the thunderous waterfalls, the rapids in streams below. He pictures his troubles as rolling down upon him like thousands of gallons of water pouring over a waterfall.
That which is "deep" in God communicates to that which is "deep" in nature, and this brings about change. It happens all around us. The "deep" in God calls to the "deep" in trees in the fall, and inevitably their leaves turn to beautiful orange, red, and yellow. Ultimately, they fall and the tree is again barren. The "deep" in God calls to the "deep" in the salmon, and millions travel back over many miles to spawn. But the psalmist is not talking about trees and fish, but rather about himself! As the breakers and waves of inner turmoil rolled over him, he was reminded of that unchanging relationship of love and joy that exists between God and us.
And again David asks—and answers—in verse 11:
Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.
When inner turmoil rolls over you, lean on the unchanging love that exists between God and you.
— Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This
Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind (Brentwood, Tenn.: Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., 2012). Copyright © 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.