A “Churning Place”

I have a "churning place." It's in my stomach. On the upper, left side, just below the rib cage. When disturbing things happen, when troubling words are said, when certain letters that contain ugly words are written or extremely critical comments are read, my inner churning starts. Do you have something similar?

One friend of mine says his spot is in his head, specifically his forehead. Another told me his "churning place" resides at the back of his neck. Most people I know have a particular region where grinding occurs, usually triggered by:

  • Bad news
  • Unpaid bills
  • Expensive repairs
  • Impossible deadlines
  • Personal conflict
  • Difficult decisions
  • Unresolved sin
  • Legal problems

I find it rather comforting that God's inspired hymnal does not omit the grind of inner turmoil. Since it is so common, I would think it strange if such a topic were not addressed.

I want to suggest that Psalms 42 and 43 should be viewed as a unit. Two observations lead me to make that suggestion. First, Psalm 43 has no superscription. Nothing by way of introduction appears before the first verse. I believe, therefore, it flows quite naturally from the previous song. (Remember, the chapter breaks—like the punctuation markings—have been added to the text of Scripture in later centuries. God's Word is inspired . . . but not the punctuation or various paragraph and chapter divisions.)

Second, the phrase repeated twice in Psalm 42 also appears in Psalm 43. Notice 42:5, 11, and 43:5:

Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him.

These three identical phrases lead me to believe that these two songs form a natural unit, revolving around a single theme. Look next at the superscription before verse 1 in Psalm 42: "For the choir director. A Maskil of the sons of Korah." The designation Maskil means the song was designed to provide insight and wisdom when dealing with certain situations. In Psalm 32, for example, the situation involved a tormented conscience.

What is the situation in these two songs? Going back to the thrice-repeated statement mentioned above, we see clearly that the situation is inner despair and disturbance. In other words, these two songs have been preserved to provide the reader with wisdom and insight in handling those "blue days," that age-old grind of inner turmoil.

Feeling the age-old grind of inner turmoil? These two songs have wisdom for handling that.

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. All rights are reserved. Used by permission.

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