For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
I've been down in the dumps today. I'm discouraged. I'm not entirely sure why. I can't point to any specific thing that happened and caused a shift in my outlook, yet here I am: discouraged, a little depressed, and having a hard time motivating myself to keep going. If you don't feel this way today, you will sooner or later, so what can we do in this situation?
Romans 15:4 above tells us that in Scripture we find both encouragement and a source of hope. Today, hope is what I need. We all need hope don't we? That isn't a sign of weakness. It's a sign that we're human. We all need to believe that things are going to get better, that at the end of the day there is some point to all the striving and effort and energy we expend. So what hope can Scripture offer us?
Psalm 42:5 says, "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 opens with the familiar words "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?" So I know that the Psalmist feels distant from God. He is thirsty for the joy of God's presence and he is cast down by his circumstances. Where does he find hope? He hopes in God. He hopes for God's deliverance from his troubles and he hopes to experiencing the joy of God's presence again. Ultimately there is no other satisfying source of hope.
So as I close I find the words of Psalm 62:5 fit my situation perfectly. Though I may not yet feel fully renewed in my spirit I resolve to "wait in silence for God alone for my hope is from Him."