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 42:11

 The people of God were in exile in a far off land. They’d been separated from family, their homes and most importantly the ability to worship God freely. Psalm42 is a song that was written during this time of hopelessness. They longed for way things used to be. For the ability to sing their songs, to meet with family and hear God’s word.

Now, all that was gone. They were taunted and harassed by people who didn’t believe as they did. They were constantly reminded by the people in this new land that their God was weak and perhaps even dead. They were called fools for the way they desired to worship. Lies were told about them. It was a very terrible and lonely time.

The ‘prison’ the Israelites found themselves in was a real one. They were slaves and told what to do, where to go, what to eat. They had very little say in any part of their lives. Some even died as a result of the hardship.

Even though we may not be in a prison with walls, sometimes we can find ourselves in a prison without walls. We look back to times in our lives when life was good. We had a family, we had a good job, and the kids listened to us. Now, we long for those times.

There are lots of things that can put us in a prison without walls. Divorce, illness, financial disaster, job loss, rebellious kids or any other number of issues can make us long for the ‘good ole’ days’. They bring pain and despair into our lives. But those issues aren’t the walls. The walls are how we react to the issues.

The issues of life cause us to feel ashamed, lonely, guilty, and angry and any number of other emotions. The way we react to the struggles of life builds walls around us that keep us from experiencing all the good that our loving Heavenly Father has for us.

No matter what is going on in your life God loves you. It doesn’t matter if the things happening to you are a result of your own poor choices or the evil inflicted by other, abusive people. Jesus loves you. It doesn’t matter if you once ‘were a good Christian’ and now have walked away from the faith. Jesus wants to welcome you back with open arms.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. Right now you know the struggle I’m going through. You know my pain, my shame, my guilt. My enemy attacks me. My finances are a disaster. I feel completely defeated. Please tear down these walls that keep me from experiencing all that you have for me. Help me to live by the measurement of your standards and not the standards others seek to force on me. Amen.