Finding Faith, Hope, and Love in the Psalms

Posted by Susan Harms, Contributing Writer, on Sep 30, 2021

Finding Faith, Hope, and Love in the Psalms

As a morning person, my perfectly crafted early latte isn’t so much about waking me up as it is to welcome me into the mercies of a new day. Just like real sunshine, liquid sunshine gives me joy. During those first few minutes of my day, I am able to wrap my hands around a warm cup and smile in awe and deep gratitude.

Sometimes, this moment of “all is good with the world” carries me through the day, but not always.

A few weeks ago, too soon after my morning coffee, I couldn’t stop the tears from running down my face as I read about the horrors that our brothers and sisters in Christ are experiencing in Afghanistan. The images of desperation and fear in the midst of such peril broke my heart. I groaned prayers for physical safety and spiritual comfort. Lord come.

Later in the morning, with a lingering heaviness of heart, I moved on through my day. A routine meeting which turned out to be productive and encouraging and an unexpected encounter with a friend who brought a smile to my face lifted my spirits.

A ho-hum afternoon ushered me into a ho-hum evening. I made dinner for my family, but out of nowhere, heaviness hit me again, and I couldn't stop thinking about some of my extended family members who have turned away from God.

When I went to bed that night, new thoughts emerged about some bad attitudes that had stirred in me, and a harsh word that had escaped my lips. Lying in bed, I stared at my ceiling with a mixture of sorrow, repentance, gratitude, and hope.

This is the way we live our lives, between the tension of awe and suffering, between loss and hope, between uncertainty and faith. 

We can experience all of it in a span of one day or zoom out and see these same rhythms lived through different seasons in our lives. The birth of a child brings joy. A job loss carries fear. Waiting for a diagnosis stirs anxiety. The loss of a loved one delivers devastation.

And we search for hope wherever we can find it.

Our hearts yearn for what we feel when we enjoy the company of a good friend or drink the perfect latte. We search for it because we want to feel re-rooted into the joy and stability we were created for.

I want to invite you to join me on a journey through the Psalms which will help us travel together through these rhythms of life.

Why the Psalms?

The fourth-century church father Athanasius once said, “Whereas most scripture speaks to us; the Psalms speak for us.” So, as we weave our way through, let’s allow the Psalms to speak for us.

The psalmists, through the power of the Holy Spirit, allow us to borrow their words in order to teach us how to voice our own. They know our joys, sorrows, pleas, and hopes. They will rejoice with us, groan for us, and encourage us. Reading through the Psalms will ground us, help us see our needs, and point to our Creator. It will strengthen our faith, give us hope, and provide an opportunity to express our love for God as we experience His love for us.

Our reading plan through the Psalms will follow a weekly pattern—one that I hope might reflect those found in our own lives.

  • We will begin each Monday with a “warm cup of coffee” psalm that will root us in God’s character. We will proclaim Him as Creator and explore the goodness of His Word, establishing our true North.
  • On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we will ask the psalmists to speak to the sins, hurts, chaos, and gut-wrenching injustice that confront us on a daily basis. We will join them in lament and learn to confess our longings and hope for forgiveness, comfort and justice. In the process, we can find reassurance that we do not need to hide or pretend. Rather, we can trust that God will meet us in our dark places and allow us to experience hope and healing.
  • On Thursdays and Fridays, our attention will shift from a place of sorrow to a posture of renewed hope, gratitude and worship. Take these days to bask in God’s love for you, and let the psalmists supply fresh words to express your love for Him.

As the Advent season leading to Christmas approaches, we will continue our journey in the Psalms. We will also take a few detours on the way to visit some chapters from the Old Testament prophets. In their day, our spiritual ancestors lived with the hope of the coming Messiah. We will celebrate His arrival, and we will reflect on our further hopes with expectation as we await His Second Coming.

My prayer for us is this: as we journey through the treasury of the Psalms, we will find faith, hope, and love within. And I pray that we will, within our hearts, be able to join the psalmist in proclaiming with conviction and devotion, “Oh how I love Your instruction! It is my meditation all day long.” (Psalm 119:97)

To join us for the Psalms reading plan, share prayer requests, and access other helpful resources, download the new Chase Oaks Mobile App here.

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