As we continue working our way through the Old Testament, one of the Psalms we will be reading in the month of February will be Psalm 42. The individual who wrote this Psalm (many believe it to be David) is enduring a season of great depression. In this Psalm, he gives two reasons for why His soul is downcast. First, he is being great oppressed by his enemies (v. 9), who are taunting him by asking the question “Where is your God?” Secondly, because of his enemies, he is unable to enter the temple, where God’s presence dwelt in a special way in the Old Testament.
So how does the Psalmist seek to be lifted out of this season of depression? Quite unlike many of us I would imagine. We tend to turn to the things of this world to lift us out of times of grief, sorry, hurt, pain, and loneliness. We binge watch a TV show. We buy something new. We eat more desserts. We isolate ourselves from the world. We listen to sad country music.
But this Psalmist’s depression, his downcast soul, leads him to one thing: longing for more of God. In a season of fear, and loneliness, and likely betrayal of loved ones, his soul “thirsts for the living God” (v.2). He longs to once again be in the presence of God, worshipping Him in the temple, and preaches to his soul to once again put his hope in God, that he will praise him again one day in the temple (v. 5).
So what can you and I take from this Psalm, and where do we see Jesus in this Psalm, as we continue this series of finding Jesus in the books of the Bible? First, let us be reminded of truth that what our souls always need the most in seasons of depression is more of God. He is the only one who can satisfy this thirst that is left behind when we lose a loved one, are hurt by a close friend, or life does not goes as we planned.
Secondly, let us understand the value corporate worship (Sunday mornings, small groups, etc.) in seasons of depression. The greater tendency is for us to withdraw from others in dark times of the soul. However, uses these gatherings to surround us with other believers who will care for us, pray for us, be present with us, encourage us, and even sing the gospel to us. In short, as we gather with other believers, God changes us and grows us in ways we could not change and grow apart from others. In seasons of depression, we need to experience more of God’s presence, and a primary way He chooses to reveal Himself is through other believers.
Finally, let us be reminded that there is always reason for hope, because of Jesus. The Psalmist encourages his soul to put his hope in God, who is his salvation. Likewise, in times of spiritual darkness and depression, we too should be encouraging out souls to put their hope in Jesus, who is our salvation. It is in doing so that we are reminded that God is always with us through His Spirit, that He will give us the grace we need to endure our trials today, and that one day, because of the salvation Jesus has accomplished for us, we will live in heaven with Jesus where all the sin and sorrow and grief of this world will be no more.
If you are enduring a season of depression or hurt or grief, or when you most certainly will in the future, do not turn to the things of this world which will never satisfy what is broken and hurting. Put your hope in God; let him satisfy your thirst, for He is our rock and our salvation. Thank you Jesus!