"Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God."
I shared this thought with some of our church family last night at our cottage prayer meeting and wanted to share it with each of you today. Because of a number of circumstances in my life this year, I have had some real moments of anxiety and depression as of late. Sunday evening I came home and just mentally, emotionally, and physically fell apart. I had absolutely nothing left in the tank for myself or any one else. My body ached from head to toe, and my spirit ached even more. I climbed in the bed Sunday night hoping to feel better in the morning and woke up feeling worse. There was in me a true state of emotional and physical pain.
For years there has been a philosophy among many believers that I like to call "macho" Christianity. This philosophy says that a Christian should never go through times of depression. They say that because we have Jesus Christ our emotions should never factor in to our personal lives. This sounds good on the surface, but it is not reality. To shame people because of their sincere depression and hurt is nothing short of cruel. A person that is battling with such depression needs encouragement from God's Word and God's people not an indictment on their lack of spirituality. While it is not appropriate for a Christian to remain in this state of depression, there is a process of healing that must take place for them to come out of it.
As I have struggled as of late with such things, there has been one verse (really three) that has played over and over in my mind. One of my favorite Bible characters since I was a boy is David. Notice that I did not say King David; because, unless you know David the boy, the fugitive, and the warrior, you will never know David the king. David, who is called a man after God's own heart, had his bouts with depression as well. Psalm 42 and 43 are perfect illustrations of this internal struggle. Three times (Psalm 42:5, 11; 43:5) David says the same thing. While suffering through depression, many people feel like the only person that they can talk to is their self. David speaks to his own heart and explores why is he is so "cast down" or depressed. He is asking what the core of his hurt and heartache is. Most people that battle depression talk about a roaring that goes on in their minds and stays with them for days on end. That is why David asks why his soul is so "disquieted". Finally, in his despair he encourages himself because he knows the only answer that will bring him through his trial: "Hope in God." He knows that there is only one refuge of strength that will sustain him and that is the mighty hand of God. He begins this healing process by praising God for who He is. His praise is followed by a prayer of help, calling on the one true and living God.
You may be suffering with troubles that seem overwhelming, but let God be your hope. Remember that the Bible says when our heart is overwhelmed we can call on God to lead us to rock that is higher than we can get to on our own. He is truly our hope, our praise, our help, and our God. I am thankful that this healing process is a day by day walk with Him. As you walk down this road, know that He is beside you whether you can feel Him or not. God has promised to never leave you nor forsake you no matter what any one else does. Trust Him completely!
May you find hope in God today!