Have you ever been depressed? Low? Lower than a “lizard’s belt buckle”, as my mother used to say. “Cast down”, as King David said in Psalm 42.
David wrote he cried day and night while men taunted him. He thought back to the good times which made him feel worse. He uses the word, “disturbed” – his usual joy and peace were in shambles.
If we are honest, think we all experience such times,. We live in a fallen world with evidence of that reality all around us as a passenger jetliner is shot out of the sky by a missile, as war looms in the Middle East, fires rage out West, refugees flee, flood waters rise, children are abused, evil seems to be willing… It’s tough out there and getting tougher day by day. It is so easy to feel despair these days – to feel powerless and get angry.
As we go through the dark times we long for God to come deliver us as David did when he wrote, “My soul pants for you, O God..my soul thirsts for God…when can I go and meet with God?” Perhaps you, too, have felt like David. He wanted a meeting with God to sort it out! He wanted God Himself.
David poured out his heart to God – not his neighbor, friends, therapist, spouse – but to God. No substitute. (I am not saying that having a neighbor, friends, therapist, spouse to talk to isn’t important – far from it – God gave us fellow human beings to helps us. He placed us in communities for a reason.)
But usually we sort of stop there talking to others seeking their advice and opinions. And just maybe when all else fails we might talk to God as a last resort. Not David. He went to God first and poured out his heart. He complained freely, boldly – he told God just how he felt!
Then he told himself to place his hope in God and determined to praise Him as his Savior and his God. (Notice the personal pronouns – his Savior and his God.) When David is feeling low he decides to remember God.
How many times when we are low, depressed and angry do we throw God into the mix and get mad at Him, too? Or act like a petulant child and decide we just won’t talk to God anymore? So there! Oh, yes, there are times when David acts like a child. David vents his anger and frustration towards God – God can handle it. He is much bigger than all of it and there is nothing we can say He hasn’t heard before. He is the safest One to talk to. David tells God exactly how he feels.
But he doesn’t stop there. He makes a decision. A decision to hope and praise – an act of the will. I doubt seriously if David felt like hoping or praising. Maybe he wanted to wallow in self-pity, or kill someone, run away, hide, get drunk… But he decided to hope and praise. Hope isn’t wishful thinking. It is confident expectation. Praise isn’t just saying ‘thank you”. It is worship.
That was David’s way out of despair. It is our way out too.
Despair or hope? Praise or complaint? Fear or peace? It’s our choice.