Do the words despondent, discouraged, or depressed ring a bell in your life? Have there been times in your life, when those words were descriptive of the way you felt? It would not surprise me, if everyone that reads this, has felt this way at one time or another. In fact, I would be surprised if someone had not felt this way!
What causes us to react with these feelings? Well, I know in my own life — being laid off from a job, struggling to find a job at that time, church problems, the sicknesses and deaths of my parents, family problems, struggling with personal health problems — and the list could go on and on … and on. I would not compare any of these to the “clinical depression” that some people suffer from. I am talking about the things of life that throw us for a loop; and if we don’t get a grip on them, could get worse.
I am talking about the kind of feelings, that the psalmist expresses:
“As the deer longs for water.
so I long for you, O God. …”
(Psalm 42:1, NLT)
“My heart is breaking
as I remember how it used to be: …”
(Psalm 42:4, NLT)
Do these words sound like something you may have felt, or prayed, at certain points in your life. If they do, we should not be surprised. I know that some of you are bearing burdens that I cannot begin to understand. In fact, I am in awe of your strength. Your faith and devotion is an encouragement to me every day, and inspires me to want to do better. There are many of you who could write these words, with more passion and understanding than me.
There are a couple of passages that speak to our struggles in Psalm 42. Listen to what they say:
“…Now I am deeply discouraged?
but I will remember you — …”
(Psalm 42:6, NLT)
“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!”
(Psalm 42:5, 11, NLT)
As Tim Keller has written, “Lord, when I have reached the end of my rope, of my wisdom and strength, that doesn’t mean I’ve run out of your rope.” When I feel as if I can’t go on, my strength will come from Him. The following verse needs to become our anthem in the difficult times.
“But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me ,
and through each night I sing his songs,
praying to God who gives me life.”
(Psalm 42:8, NLT)
May the God of heaven give us strength, courage, and peace.