A Brighter Future
Yael Eckstein | November 26, 2023
Send me your light and your faithful care,
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell. — Psalm 43:3
In honor of my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, and his lifework helping Christians understand the Jewish roots of their faith, I offer you one of his devotional teachings from the beloved Psalms.
In the final stanza of the poem “The Rainy Day” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, we find the oft-quoted line: “Into each life some rain must fall.” It’s a truism that everyone comes into hard times. As the poet explains, “Thy fate is the common fate of us all… some days must be dark and dreary.” Given this inevitable reality, the question is not whether we will receive challenges, but rather how we will receive them.
So many times, we get stuck in the muck of a “rainy day.” It’s hard to see past the gloom and look to a brighter future.
Psalm 43 recounts the destruction of the Temple and the harsh exile of the Jewish people from Israel. However, this psalm really speaks to anyone who has gone through any type of destruction in his or her life. In the first half of the psalm, the psalmist asked, “Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” (v.2). He bemoaned the very rainy day.
Praying for a Brighter Future
However, the psalmist didn’t stop there. With a distinct shift in tone, the psalmist asked: “Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.” The psalmist envisioned and prayed for a brighter future. In the midst of destruction, he could already see the reconstruction of the Temple. He could see the return of the exiles and the renewed joy in the Temple service. It is that vision—that light—that led him through the dark and dreary day.
Friends, when we go through the rainy days of our lives, it is so important to look to a brighter future that will see us through our darkest hours.
The psalmist concluded his lament in this way: “Why, my soul, are you downcast… Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him…” (v.5). Or, as Longfellow wrote: “Be still, sad heart and cease repining; Behind the clouds is the sun still shining.” Even on the dreariest days, we need to see the sun behind the clouds and the clear skies that follow the rain.