“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” (Psalm 42:11)
Disturbed. Turmoil. Downcast. These are words often used in association with an emotional crisis. Words used to express a state of distress or despair. Over the last 14 years, countless clients experiencing depression have come to my office in search of a remedy. It’s interesting that these clients have varied in age, skin colors, socioeconomic backgrounds, genders, and have had vastly different histories and experiences. And yet, there seems to be a common denominator…something King David knew full well.
King David, the mighty warrior who slayed Goliath and Israel’s most triumphant king, experienced times of great sadness. In the above verse he inquires: Why is my soul so cast down? and Why so disturbed within me? It’s the same questions my clients ask, and it’s the same questions you and I have asked ourselves.
So what is the common thread? We find our answer when David exclaims, “Hope in God.” Indeed, lost or misplaced hope is the commonality of a downcast spirit. Placing our hope in the things of this world- beauty, money, fame, status, approval, careers, relationships- only leads us to feel disappointed, disillusioned, and dissatisfied. Abandoning hope all together leaves us even worse.
But when we shift our focus to God and meditate on His character, we find peace and satisfaction for our souls. And how much more so when we look to our Living Hope, Jesus Christ! In this world we will have trouble (John 16:33). We will experience times of sadness, and even depression. But Jesus assures us he has overcome the world and is preparing a heavenly home for those who are in Him. This, and only this, is our glorious hope and the ultimate remedy for a downcast spirit.
Questions: 1) In what have you been placing your hope? 2) How have the things of this world failed you, or lead you to despair? 3) Read 1 Peter 1:3-4. What steps can you take each day to fix your mind on our glorious and living hope?
Prayer: Dear God, forgive me for seeking the things of this world to bring me what only you can. Thank you for your unconditional love, your abounding faithfulness, and for the gift of your son, Jesus. Father, I praise you for the hope of our salvation and for your promise to never leave us. May your Holy Spirit prompt my heart to remember these truths at all times. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.