Why Are You Downcast, Oh My Soul?
There are times winter sets up camp in my heart and it seems as if I am in Narnia, where Christmas never comes. The bleak dark clouds of relentless sadness seem to wash over my mind as I battle with sin. The coldness of my heart toward the goodness of God makes my soul ache as I cry out to the Lord, to warm it once again at the fires of His Word.
I find these times of coldness to be extremely difficult and I seem to daily battle with myself. I know the truth, that God loves me, cares for me and desires to have me near Him, but my angry, selfish, sinful heart wants to push Him away.
Psalm 42:11 “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.”
How does one find their way out of the darkness of a downcast soul? We have to preach truth to ourselves through God’s Word! Personally, it is a struggle to open the pages of God’s Word when I have allowed the sin of despondency into my mind. The moment I open the pages of God’s Word I am washed over by truth of it and that, my friend, is when I see the ugliness of my heart.
Psalm 42 opens with, As a deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
I am reminded to BEG God to help me to turn to Him and desire Him when my soul wants to turn inward into myself. I need to literally turn my mind toward Christ and the truths of His Word. For example, Colossians 3:2-3 tells me to “set my mind on the things above, not on things that are on the earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” A commentary I read said the word set can also be, to think or to have inner disposition, this disposition should point us toward he things of heaven. These verses should cause one to ask, What is taking my thoughts of Christ and dethroning Him in my mind? What situation is now greater than Christ? Why am I unable to see Christ through the haze of my circumstance?
I am thankful that the Psalmist in 42 was honest and poured out his heart. There is sometimes a perception that we as believers can’t be sad or struggling, but God’s Word gives us glimpses of others who have had moments when their souls were struggling. The Psalmist in 42 gives us the answer we so desperately need in verse 11. Our hope is in God!
How do we hope in God when we are personally struggling? I don’t know about you but I ask the Lord for it. God’s Word tells us, we have not because we ask not, and believe me, God gives hope abundantly to those whom ask Him for it.
I flipped back from chapter 42 to chapter 40 and read this, ” I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of destruction , out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the Lord.” I need to remember what God has ALREADY done for me! What has He done? First, He saved me from my sin and made me righteous because of Christ. He brought me out of the pit of sin and miry clay that had entangled me. He took my unstable self and placed it upon a firm rock! He put a NEW song in my mouth, a song of praise to Him, when before that my mouth was full of self and cursing. The first step for me to get out of despondency is to remember what God has already done for me.
The second thing I do to be renewed and is begin to be refreshed by His Word. I run to the book of Psalm and bath my mind in the truths there. Psalms reminds me to to praise the Lord, share my heart with my God and then to keep praising Him. They help me to remember how to praise Him when my soul is struggling. There are times where I just open Psalms and read it out loud because while I want to praise God, my soul struggles to come up with the truth. If I read the Bible out loud I am proclaiming truth about Him and praising Him and it brings healing to my bones.
Psalm 40:11 days ” You, O Lord, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your loving kindness and your truth will continually preserve me.” Isn’t it wonderful to know that God preserves us and shows compassion on us when we struggle? I am so grateful to know He keeps and preserves me.
Friend, trust in the Lord when you are downcast and ask Him to lift your head! Preach truth to yourself and remember, His steadfast love is better than life, (Ps. 63:3) forget none of His benefits, forgiveness of sin, healing of disease, REDEEMED your life from the pit and crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion. (Ps 103) He Daily bears your burden (Ps. 69) He is your portion (Ps. 73) He is ready to forgive those who call on Him (Ps. 86) I could go on and on of the truth in His Word about what He has done and is doing for me and you!
Why at are you downcast, O my soul? HOPE IN GOD!
Be encouraged today!
Resources for you if you are struggling with depression and despondency.
This was written on an app so forgive typos and incomplete sentences. It’s hard to edit things on a car ride on an iPhone!