Psalm 42 and 43 belong together as one work and could aptly be titled “Depressed.” Verses 1-3 in chapter 42 indicate the writer’s distance from God:
As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I come and appear before God, the living God. When can I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while all day long people say to me, “Where is your God?”
This starkly contrasts with previous times of close worship with God. “I remember this as I pour out my heart:how I walked with many, leading the festive procession to the house of God, with joyful and thankful shouts” (vs. 4).
Next, the writer seems unable to understand why he is depressed and in so much turmoil. Thrice he mentions, “Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? (vs. 5). He even states,“I am deeply depressed” (vs. 6). God allowed him to be tossed and overwhelmed like one helpless beneath roaring water. Twice he agonizes, “I will say to God my Rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about in sorrow, because of the enemy’s oppression?’My adversaries taunt me, as if crushing my bones,while all day long they say to me, ‘Where is your God?’” (vs. 9-10).
If you are prone to depression or periods of melancholy don’t feel like you are somehow unspiritual or unworthy in God’s eyes. The Bible shares numerous accounts of depressed saints. Don’t devalue your image because your feelings hurt. Rather, recognize the normalcy of sadness and despair in life. Solomon, the disheartened sage, penned:
For with much wisdom is much sorrow; as knowledge increases, grief increases . . .For what does a man get with all his work and all his efforts that he labors with under the sun? For all his days are filled with grief, and his occupation is sorrowful; even at night, his mind does not rest. This too is futile. (Ecclesiastes 1:18, 2:22,23)
So what are we to do when we feel as cheery as a lost goose in a foggy cloud? I believe God gives us the remedy to depression from these same sons of Korah. In the midst of battling hopelessness, note the shared solutions. “Put your hope in God [key antidote], for I will still praise him, my Savior and my God [praise applied 3x vs. 11].. .The LORD will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night—a prayer to the God of my life (42:8)[application of faith] . . . Vindicate me, God, and defend my cause against an ungodly nation; rescue me from the deceitful and unjust man [43:1—focus on God as the Deliverer]. Send Your light and Your truth; let them lead me. Let them bring me to Your holy mountain, to Your dwelling place [43:3—submission to God’s way].Then I will come to the altar of God, to God, my greatest joy. I will praise You with the lyre, God, my God [43:4—application of worship].
When the psalmists couldn’t sleep; lost appetite or interest in what they once enjoyed; felt restless, cranky, tired, guilty even despairing of life, there were no pills with venlafaxine, paroxetine, mirtazapine, bupropion or sertraline. They don’t mention St. John’s Wort, God’s natural herb. No, when depressed, they reached for hope and faith, submitted to God’s authority and practiced praise and worship. Somehow, I think they felt better. When our eyes are on God, there is RELIEF! Something to think about . . . in reveration!
Hope is grief’s best music.—Anonymous
©2008 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)