The Cure for Depression, Part 1 


Psalm 77 

It’s the holiday season so hopefully you’re not depressed. The reality is, however, that the holiday season can indeed be emotionally draining for many. So, whether you need it now or you file this away for another time, Psalms 77 provides a cure for depression. 

The ups and downs of our emotions 

The very interesting thing I’ve realized about writing my spiritual insights from my personal time in the Bible, (and sharing them with you) is that my writing is affected by the ups and downs of my emotions. I’ve been journeying on this blogging adventure for about four years now. When I am emotionally strong and feeling optimistic about life and God, my writing soars and the process can be exhilarating.  

There are other times, however, that my emotions wane and the burdens of this world capture my attention. At these times when I tend to be looking at the waves from the storm rather than fixing my eyes on Jesus. I allow a victim-mentality to overtake me.

It tempting to focus on the difficulties and stresses of life and say ‘this is unfair; this is too much.’  

Depression, for me, is looking inward and living inside myself. It can feel like a hole and there’s no easy way out. When you’re in a mental hole, remembering times of joy is difficult. It can be as challenging as lifting a weight of 1000 pounds.  

 

He’s a real downer 

Since I read the Bible and write every morning, I can’t avoid God during the down times I encounter in life. Fortunately, I have to write anyway (otherwise, I fall too far behind in my blog posts :). I don’t know exactly how many people read my blog or listen to the podcast. But nevertheless, you all provide me with accountability. I have to confront God and His Word every day, regardless of my emotions, whether up or down. For me, this has made all the difference in the world regarding spiritual growth.  

I was reminded of this reality this morning when I read Psalms 77. This is a Psalm of Asaph, (not David).  

 

Asaph allows the readers to know exactly how he feels.  

He doesn’t do what I and other Christian writers usually do when we force ourselves to write optimistic affirmations about God, even if we don’t feel like it. Asaph, on the other hand, lets his grief be known. 

 

My voice rises to God, and I will cry aloud; My voice rises to God, and He will hear me. In the day of trouble, I sought the Lord; in the night my hand was stretched out without weariness; my soul refused to be comforted. When I remember God, then I am disturbed; When I sigh, then my spirit grows faint. You have held my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak, verses 1-4 

 

See what I’m talking about? What preacher or Christian author would begin his sermon, his post or his writing with, When I remember God, then I am disturbed? I am so troubled that I cannot speak.  

 

I’m in a hole 

When I remember God, then I am disturbed?  What does that mean?

Here’s what I believe it means. I have a high view of God. I know He is Sovereign and in control of all things and that He directs the affairs of my life by His mighty providence. That should give us comfort, right? But sometimes knowing the power and sovereignty of God disturbs me? 

With an understanding of our great God, I’m disturbed that He’s not answering my prayers in the way I feel He should. And He’s not answering them NOW!

I don’t like what He’s doing in and around me. It hurts. People I love are hurting. Life can be tough; really tough. And I know He can change my situation in a moment, but He’s not changing it. That can be very disturbing.  

(It’s not easy to write these words, but sometimes it how I feel. And it is how Asaph felt when he wrote this Psalm). 

The Psalmist continues,

Will the Lord reject forever? And will He never be favorable again? Has His lovingkindness ceased forever? Has His promises come to an end forever? Has God forgotten to be gracious, or has He in anger, withdrawn His compassion? 7-9. 

Anyone who knows God and is loved by Him, agrees these are silly questions. Of course, the answer to these questions is NO. But we still struggle with these doubts, don’t we? And that’s OK – as long as You take it all to God in complete honesty and transparency. That is the first step. 

I’ve taken you down into the pits with Asaph, the Psalmist. The second half of the Psalm will take us back up. Next time we’ll discover the cure to depression. 

 

Dear Father, when I consider the volatility of my emotions that take me up and down, up and down, I’m thankful that You never change. I am so grateful for Your unchanging nature of perfect holiness. You are the same yesterday, today and forever. When we place our hope in ourselves, we are disappointed. When we place our hope in others, we are disappointed. May we fully place our hope in You, even when we are at our lowest. Help us to trust You. Amen!