This morning when I was reading the Bible, I came upon this chapter. I wanted to quickly share this Psalm with you. Psalm 13…
1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? 3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, 4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. 5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. 6 I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
In light of my last post on some of my thoughts on the death of Junior Seau (click here to read), this Psalm stuck out to me this morning. It really is a great look into the matter of struggle and depression.
King David wrote this Psalm. One of the many aspects of the Bible that I deeply appreciate is the fact that it is painfully honest in its writing. In this Psalm, David is clearly depressed. He feels abandoned by God and personally lost. The Lord is distant and David’s earthly enemies are close. He is scared for both his earthy life and his eternal soul. Ever been there? I have.
What I noticed this morning, though, is the abrupt shift in David’s tone towards the end of the Psalm. At his point of absolute depression (or destructive thoughts as we talked about in my last post), David makes three quick decisions.
First, David decides to TRUST in God’s “steadfast love”. Even during times of feeling abandoned by God, David chose to trust God with the outcome. God is God and worthy of our trust, no matter what we are feeling. No matter how dark it got for David (seemingly to the point of suicidal depression), he still CHOSE to trust God with his life and well-being.
Second, David chose to REJOICE in what he does know about God. Though things are dark and God seems distant to David, he shifts from depression to rejoicing in the salvation that God has promised him. We see this teaching also in Paul’s letter of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
David demonstrates what Paul later teaches in the New Testament. No matter what your circumstances, REJOICE. Oh yeah, Paul wrote the words of “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I way, Rejoice” literally from prison. He understood the pressure David was under and echoed the same words.
Third, David chose to actually worship. He fell into depression, which is easy for any of us. However, he didn’t stay there. He chose to worship God instead of wallow in self-pity (a type of self-worship in and of itself). We are created for worship. I believe this with every fiber in my body. When we are not worshiping God, we will worship something. This worship could come in the form of materialism, lust, greed, gluttony, or many other vices that we tend to “bow down to”. However, we are only fulfilled and right with ourselves when we are worshiping our Creator. Here, David chose to shift his worship away from fear and depression to that of the living God. Good choice.
I’m not saying it is easy, but I am saying that we do find a good blueprint in dealing with depression and fear in this Psalm. Yes, we do need the counsel and help of others when we are stuck and mired in depression. It is far from “let go and let God”. However, there is truth in the elements of TRUSTING in God, REJOICING in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in, and WORSHIPING Him (even in the midst of depression) instead of worshiping ourselves through doubt, self-pity, and even self-loathing.
Depression is big, but God is even bigger. We can choose to trust, rejoice, and worship even in the midst of our darkest hours. I’ve seen this in the lives of persecuted Christians in different parts of the world. I’ve seen it in friends and family during the horrific pain to grieving the death of loved ones.
Christ has promised that He will never leave or abandon us, even when we don’t “feel” Him there. Let’s trust Him in this reality, rejoice in His goodness, and live lives of true worship.