Today’s Scripture Selection: Psalm 42:5

“Why are you downcast, O my soul?”

I think of myself as a pretty positive person.  One child in my congregation, in giving me a wonderful, hand written letter of appreciation for me as his pastor even said so.  He said, “He’s always smiles.”  I like that.

But it’s not exactly true.

I can be depressed, disturbed, and what the scripture calls “downcast” in my soul.  I have come to learn, now in mid-life, that is just part of the human condition.

But so is the joy and hope we find in relationship with God through Christ.

The Psalmist says it so well,

“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.”

That says it all – doesn’t it?

Being downcast and discouraged at times is inevitable.  The only ones I know who never, ever feel that way don’t have a very firm grip on reality.

But finding hope and healing and guidance and a multitude of reasons to praise our Savior and our God is also very real and very possible.

So, downcast or joyful for the moment – put your hope in God.

It’s what life is all about.

Prayer: Thank you Lord, for your ever present Spirit which lifts me up.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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