Battling Depression in Faith - Psalms 42 #01
Topic: Depression Passage: Psalm 42:1–42:11
Battling Depression in Faith
For a few devotions, I want to look at Psalm 42. Edward Welch says this about depression in a brief resource that we have here at the Church.
“You feel numb, yet your head hurts; empty, yet inside there are screams; fatigue, yet fears abound. Things that were once pleasures now barely hold your attention. Your brain feels like it is in a fog. You feel weighted down...Every day is the same. There is no rhythm of rising anticipation, satisfaction, then rest. Each day brings a dreadful monotony, and you fear that tomorrow will be the same as today. That flatness of life feels like it is killing you…
Externally the Psalmist’s circumstances are oppressing in chapter 42.
3 My tears have been my foodday and night, while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?” And verse 10 says the same thing, only it describes the effect as a deadly wound:
This Psalm draws a helpful picture of what it might look like to battle depression in faith. The Psalm ends like most everything else in life, with mixed emotions. He is exercising his God-given faith, but is not where he wants to be in hope, peace, and praise. Over the next few devotions, I want to show you six things that the Psalmist does in his spiritual depression that are helpful principles to shape how we deal with our own seasons of darkness.
Two principles for today:
1. He asks God Why?
He responds to his circumstances at one point by asking God Why?
Verse 9: “I say to God, my rock: ‘Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?’”
The word forgotten is an overstatement. And he knows it is. He just said in verse 8, “By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me.” What he means is that, it looks like God has forgotten him. It feels as if God has forgotten him. If God hasn’t forgotten him, why aren’t these enemies driven back and consumed? He is simply expressing how he feels to the Lord. However, he does not ask with an unwilling ear to what is true. He is quick to remind himself of what it true. You see in depression; we cannot allow our feelings to be our anchor. We must allow God’s truth to be our anchor.
- He affirms God’s sovereign love.
In the midst of his discouragement, he affirms God’s sovereign love for him.
Verse 8: “By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.”
In verses 5 and 11, he calls God “my salvation and my God.” And even though he says it looks as if God has forgotten him, he never stops believing in the absolute sovereignty of God over all his adversity. So, the psalmist takes His question to God, yet, He willingly listens to what the Scriptures affirm of God’s sovereign love for him in and through all the troubles. That is where we start in our battle with depression
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