Continual Encouragement for the Chronically Discouraged

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In Psalm 42-43, we find this verse repeated three times: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” (Psalm 42:5).  Psalm 42:11 and 43:5 rephrases the end of the verse like this, “for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”

In these psalms, the writer is battling chronic discouragement/depression.

  • He is crying night and day (42:3).
  • People are saying unto him, “Where is your God?” (42:3).
  • He is remembering and reflecting all the time and it is plunging him into depression (42:4).
  • He is cast down (42:5).
  • His soul is disquieted (in and uproar, a rage, moaning, great commotion, very upset) (42:5).
  • He feels like he is drowning (42:7).
  • He feels that God has forgotten him (42:9).
  • His enemies reproach him and mock him and his God (42:10).
  • He feels that God has cast him off (43:2).

What does the writer down when he feels this way?  How does he encourage himself?

  • He seeks for God and thirsts for God (42:1-2).  He pours out his hear to God and realises that the solution to his discouragement/depression is not found in others or in physical circumstances; it is found in God Himself.
  • He takes personal responsibility for the condition of his soul (42:5).  He does not make excuses or blame others.  He speaks to his soul and reasons with himself.  He determined to hope (trust/believe) in God.  He decides to praise God whether he feels like it or not.  He reminds himself of what the truth of God’s Word says – God is the help of his contenance.  He does not allow feeling and emotions to rule his life; he determines to live his life based on the truth.
  • He cries out to God (42:6, 42:8).  He prays and speaks to God.  He is honest with God about how he is feeling.  He casts his cares upon the Lord.  He pours out his heart to God, knowing God cares and can help in a way that no one can.
  • He relies on the Lord his God to lift his countenance (42:11, 43:3-5).  He realises that no substance, no changing of ones circumstances, no indulgence in some pleasure, and no person can every help him.  God and God alone is who He really needs for his countenance to be healthy.

When we feel down, discouraged, and depressed, may God help us to realise that we are not alone, that there is a solution, and to run to Him and cry out to Him.  He will help us and He will strengthen us!

Read more helpful articles at bcwe.org.

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