Psalm 42 A Cure for Depression
Psalm 42 is a psalm of instruction but also of sorrow. Some of the subtitles given for this psalm will help us understand the theme.
The fact that the author is lamenting his distress is made worse by the fact that he has mockers and taunters around him.
This psalm was used by God's people when they were in exile in Babylon. They prayed this psalm, longing to be delivered from captivity.
Vs. 1 - Intense longing for God
Vs. 2 - Continued desperation to meet with God
Vs. 3 - What has been his spiritual food and drink? Where is your God?
Vs. 4 - Remembering corporate worship
Vs. 5 - "Why am I so depressed?"
Vs. 6 - The remembrance of landmarks.
Vs. 7 - The remembrance that God is in charge.
Vs. 8 Lovingkindness by day and song in the night
Vs. 9-10 How long? Why?
The cure for depression - keep in mind that the cure is often the last thing we feel like doing; but the thing we must do.
While circumstances and feelings may scream that God is not who He claims to be - we need to make sure we have a proper view of God. (John 17:3). God hears our heart's cry. There is no fear in God being offended, His character isn't diminished by our pleading. The psalmist doesn't shrink from pouring out his complaint to God; but notice how he quickly matches his complaint with praise. This is a practice that we must learn to do in order to walk in victory.
Sometimes the last thing we want to do is allow the Holy Spirit to expose a root issue in us that is the trigger point for depression. Remember the is a difference between the Holy Spirit putting a finger on sin to give the grace and power to walk in freedom and the enemy of our soul condemning our person. God isn't vague when He wants us to deal with sin in our lives. Depression can make us feel like the prodigal son - but NEVER forget the Father standing with arms open to restore and forgive.
In the pit of depression it's often hard to see the pain or needs of others. Making the choice to step outside of our darkness to be an encourager/encouragement to others can often lift our spirit as well. If prayer is the first step - take that step. Hang out with encouragers! Whether it's in person, the music you hear, the shows you watch - make a choice to surround your soul with nourishment.
Depression can have roots in unfulfilled/unmet expectations. This is huge! Bitterness and anger can become the monsters we seemingly can't escape. Transferring our eyes from disappointment to God's promises offers hope. (Job 23:12; Jeremiah 15:16; Philippians 1:6) We can trust that He is in the midst of our pain with us.
Do the next thing. Overwhelmed people tend to focus on what is yet unknown. Our imaginations can get the best of us - we only have this moment. Breathe through this moment. Rest in the grace for this day. Elisabeth Elliot often quoted the poem of old which admonishes us to "do the next thing."
Hope in the person of Christ - vs. 11. Specifically His return, our glorified bodies, and our likeness to Him.
I Sam. 30:6; Ps 33:20-22; Romans 15:13-15; Psalm 39:7; Timothy 1:1; Hebrews 6:18; Titus 2:13-14; Colossians 1:27