There be many that say, Who will show us any good? LORD, lift you up the light of your countenance on us.
Beneath the conventional smiles and cheerful salutations of society there lie heavy burdens on many hearts, and there may be heard "groanings which cannot be uttered." There is on every side a great deal of care amounting to anxiety, and of depression bordering on melancholy. At present, the troubles of our fellow men are heavy indeed, through the more struggle for existence. Another cause of the general depression is the sickness which abounds. This has been a very unhealthy season. Another great sorrow is the perpetual exile of grown-up sons into distant lands. Add the trouble endured through domestic servants, and through bad children. There are unhappy souls who live in a perpetual atmosphere of melancholy, who, whatever be their circumstances, habitually look only on the dark side of things, and seem unable to do otherwise. See the exquisite beauty, and simplicity, and reasonableness of the remedy for trouble which the Psalmist recommends. His remedy is prayer. But prayer for what? He does not pray for the removal of one of life's burdens, for the reversal of one of God's decrees, or for the smallest interference on God's part with the conditions in which we find ourselves. It is a prayer only for the light of God's countenance to shine upon our souls. That is the only good worth showing or giving. That is the panacea for all life's ills. That gives strength to carry the burden, instead of taking the burden away. That gives courage to face our danger, instead of taking the danger out of our path. That is the only cure in heaven or earth for depression of mind. "The light of God's countenance" is a way of expressing the soul's vision of God — seeing Him, and knowing that He sees us. Some of us may drill ourselves into a hardened stoicism. That is not happiness, it is death. Many think to be happy by the removal of their present troubles. It is a mistake. In trouble man learns that he needs God. In his darkest hours man has seen the brightest visions of the ineffable glory.
Parallel VersesKJV: There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.