Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3120

Jump Start # 3120

Psalms 42:5 “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.”

  Psalms 42 could well be called, “The Upward look for a downcast soul.” Through the words of the Psalmist one can see a soul that was troubled, even depressed. Twice the same question is asked, “Why are you in despair?” The writer tells of tears that have been his food day and night. He mentions mourning because of the oppression of the enemy. His soul was disturbed. He was in a troublesome place.

  Depression will do that, especially spiritual depression. The walls seem to close in when one is feeling this way. It’s hard for others to understand. Simple suggestions, such as, “snap out of it,” or, “think positive thoughts,” just don’t seem to help much. The Psalmist mentions the crashing waves, not of water, but of dark thoughts, overcoming him. Many understand and have stood with this Psalmist. While the congregation is singing, “I’m happy today, oh, I’m happy today,” those words seem so far away to the one with depression.

  For some, this is a medical problem. A chemical imbalance needs to be adjusted by medicine. This is scary for some to mention aloud to others. Many think all problems can be solved by a single verse and greater faith. However, no one seems to mind if a person takes medicine for a heart condition, or allergies. However, to take medicine because of mental issues, some shake their heads. And, for that reason, many suffer and many must wear masks for fear of what others will say.

  However, some depression is caused by fear and worry and faith can do much to change that. As dark as Psalms 42 seems to be, there is great hope and help found there. Let’s consider a few thoughts:

  First, our verse describes someone who is talking to himself. The question, “Why are you in despair, O my soul” was not asked to another person. It’s not really a prayer to God. He realized that he was bothered. He understood that his soul was troubled and disturbed. He talks to himself.

  In Jesus’ parable about the rich farmer, we find, “And I will say to my soul…” The farmer was talking to himself. Talking to yourself. This is not some sort of self help trick. It’s putting your problems before your eyes. It helps you to see things and to make adjustments. Within our very verse today, we find, “Hope in God.” The Psalmist knew. Sometimes we just need to tell ourselves what we know. What would you tell someone else that came to you with what is bothering you? Listen to your own advice. You know what God says. You have a storehouse of verses, sermons, classes and studies that you have gone through. Use those. Remember. Reflect. This is not just thinking positive, this is pulling from your memory and heart what you know is true because of what God’s word says. It’s there. You know it. You must lean upon what is true. Why am I feeling this way? Answer that. Why am I in the dumbs? Answer that. Then what would God want me to do?

  Second, remarkably, Psalms 42 reveals no other help other than from God. The Psalmist did not have others. The only other people mention were oppressors who were making things much worse for him. He didn’t have others to pull him out of the pit. He didn’t have someone else to bear his burdens. The way the chapter is constructed, it seems that the writer was away from worship. For some reason he could not get to worship. He wanted to, but he couldn’t. He longed to, but he couldn’t. There was no one else. David was like that in the book of Samuel. He was being chased. He came home and his family had been kidnapped. Everything was going wrong. His own men were so discouraged that they contemplated killing David. The text there says that “David strengthened himself.” There comes a time when one must do that. We may wait on the church for a long time. You know what’s right. You know what you need to do.

  Third, hoping in God and remembering the sweet blessings from the Lord put the Psalmist in a good place. God seemed far away, but He wasn’t. It looked like God had left him, but He didn’t. And, when he got his thinking adjusted he found that he was driving the dark clouds of gloom and doom away. God was good. God was going to be praised again by him. He knew that. These problems were not going to define him, defeat him or destroy him. Talking to himself made him remember. It made him look to God rather than his problems. It made him realize that God would be there for him.

  Fourth, we can make things worse for ourselves by the choices we make and what we focus upon. The Psalmist wanted to worship. Like a deer that pants for the water, one of our hymns, starts this Psalm. For us, sometimes, we could worship, we just don’t. We don’t feel like being around others. We don’t feel like singing. We don’t and because of that, we don’t. And, what we fail to realize is that we are only painting the walls around us an even darker shade of gloom. Elijah was like that, hiding in the cave. God told the prophet to get out, to eat, and to go do what the Lord wanted him to do. That put him around other people. That got him busy again. We can be our own worse enemy by the choices and the thoughts that we fill our time with. For some, depression is a decades long journey. For others, it’s just a momentary setback.

  Talking to yourself…preach to yourself. You know what you ought to do. Hear yourself say it and then start doing it. “Why am I this way,” that’s a great place to start.