Read Psalm 42:4-5
4 My heart is breaking
as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
amid the sound of a great celebration!
5 Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God. (NLT)
We do have a tendency to want to repeat great experiences from the past. The psalmist is distressed to remember the good times he once knew. For whatever reason those times have changed. Having experienced the good times can make our bad times even worse: the contrast is so great.
We can confront this situation when we remember conferences we attended. A few of them may have been particularly memorable. They were even life changing for us. And yet, life has changed again and again since then. We don’t survive on occasional conferences even though they can be wonderful times for us.
We also have to realise we change. A certain type of conference was just right for us some years ago but today we might look for stimulus elsewhere. We have come to a different stage on our faith journey and the voices and themes we thrived on in the past may have done their job and so we move towards different voices and themes.
Yet as the psalmist concludes, we still put our hope in God. We go on praising him. Our seasons change, our tastes change. Conferences and speakers come and go. But our God remains faithful and trustworthy. He is, as the poet T.S. Eliot describes him, the still point of the turning world.