We greet each other with the words, “How are you?.” The question is are we sure we really want to know? Do we have the time to really listen to how the other person is doing? The answer to that question is equally as hypocritical! When we say, “I am fine/ Ok/ good/ alright. Are we sincere?
The real problem with depression is the fact that people hide their true feelings deep within. They fail to break the silence of what is really going on in their lives. The Psalmist in Psalm 42:6-7 pours out the real battle going on in his heart.
- My Soul is Downcast within me
The first great victory won by the Psalmist is the admission that he is depressed. Psychologists tell us that the first reaction to any kind of loss is denial. We cover up our real feelings and pretend that all is Ok. This has the negative effect of driving the despair within us deeper into our souls as we meditate upon it. They say a problem shared is half solved! The more we conceal our troubles the more they eat us up. We must explode as the Psalmist does, before the Lord and say, “my soul is downcast within me!” This simple admission is the beginning of spiritual catharsis. Simple problems have the potential of developing into complex situations if we hide them within. It has been said that time heals all wounds, but I remind you that time also leaves the worst scars. Time is the worst beautician. It is better to uncover depressive tendencies early and nip them in the bud rather than wait. It always touches me when one commits suicide and we hear later that they were keeping to themselves never sharing what they were going through. Let’s learn to say, “my soul is downcast within me!”
2. I will Remember You
As I already explained before depression leads us further away from God. It makes us focus on a small part of our lives that is dark. It blocks all light and makes us sit alone in a dark patch.
The Psalmist decides to remember who God really is in the midst of the turmoil. He offers us three dimensions of who God is by simply mentioning three biblical sites that seem to be part of his wandering. He will remember God from the land of the Jordan, from the Hermonittes, and from Mt.Mizar. It is quite uncertain where these locations are, but we know that the Psalmist is lamenting being far from God. What is key here is that he remembers God! From far-off lands where misery has taken him, he remembers God. From the darkest part of his night, he remembers God. From the place where no one else will reach him, he remembers God!
We must push ourselves also to remember God in the midst of the turmoil and draw near to Him. I am reminded of the encouragement in Hebrews 10:19-23
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have the confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
Hebrews 10:19-23 NIV
3. Deep Calls unto Deep
The Psalmist will then go on to recount how he feels crushed by wave after wave of despair. He appears like one who is on a roller coaster of dark emotions. From one deep end, he calls as each wave and storm hits his life. He has been driven to the waterfall of life and now he is in free fall.
Depression may be caused by a single event, but mostly it is the accumulation that breaks us. It is rising and falling that takes away all energy, as we are pushed again and again deep under the waves. We must acknowledge that this feels like an endless struggle. Like fighting a losing battle!
But even then the words of the Psalmist cheer us up as he states confidently, “By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me.” All is not lost! The presence of God goes with us even in the darkest storm. He is with us night and day. He walks with us through the darkest cloud. He sits with us in the dark night of our souls! He simply does not leave us to struggle alone. Let’s be comforted by the words of Psalm 23:4
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”