Psalm 43:5 - Remedies for Discouragement and Depression.
Psalm 43:5 - Remedies for Discouragement and Depression.
Psalm 43:5 (NIV) Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so
disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my
Savior and my God.
Psalm 43:5 (CWR) Why then am I still so distressed? What is
causing this depression? I will trust in the Lord and not in my
feelings. I will praise His name, for He is my Savior and my God!
Psalm 43:5 (TLB) O my soul, why be so gloomy and discouraged?
Trust in God! I shall again praise him for his wondrous help; he will
make me smile again, for he is my God!
OVERVIEWS WITH COMMENTARY
The refrain "Why are you cast down, O my soul?" ties these
two psalms together (42:5, 11; 43:5). Why was the writer so
For one thing, God seemed far from him in his hour of need
(42:1-3). He felt like a thirsty deer in the desert, searching for water.
But the Lord is never far away; He is near even when you do not
recognize Him (Isa. 41:10; Heb. 13:5; Ps. 46:7).
The writer's depression was aggravated because he looked back
at "the good old days" (42:4-6). He longed to return to Jerusalem
and minister in the temple. Sometimes retirement or a change of
residence will make people depressed. The older we get, the less we enjoy
The discouraging talk of others was a third contributing
factor (42:3, 9-l0): "Has God forgotten you? Where is your God?" The
answer is in Psalm 115. Listen to God and not to the foolish talk of
What should you do when depression starts to control you?
"Hope in God" (42:5, 11; 43:5). Look at the future and not at the
past. If you feel drowned by circumstances, keep in mind that they are
His waves and billows (42:7), and He knows what is best for you.
Stop feeding on your feelings (42:3) and start feeding on His Word
(43:3). God will guard you and guide you, no matter how miserable you
may feel. God is greater than your feelings. Walk by faith and He
will see you through. [Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary by Warren
A human being can go without food for about thirty to forty
days, but he or she can go only about three days without water.
Extreme thirst will put you on a single-minded hunt for water. That
makes thirst a good word for describing deep cravings, doesn't it?
In Psalm 42 we see a person thirsting for God, craving his
presence, and still feeling alone or even abandoned by him. This person
has longed for God's presence and found no ready source of relief.
As you read this psalm, find, with the author, the answer to your
Also, find hope in times of discouragement (Psalm 43); help
when feeling weary and defeated (Psalm 44); and rejoicing in God's
gift of marriage (Psalm 45).
Do you ever feel alone in your faith? There come times in
life when we thirst for God, weep for his help, or even endure
ridicule for our faith while waiting for him to answer our prayers (Psalm
42:1-3).We want desperately to feel God's presence or to have some other
tangible sign of his help and support. Times like these can lead to
depression and discouragement for any Christian.
The writer of Psalm 42 discovered a remedy for these
spiritually dry times. He remembered God's great blessings on his life. He
realized that although God seemed silent, he was there and was worthy to
be praised (42:4-5). He soaked in God's beautiful creation (42:6).
He realized that he was never adrift from God's love (42:7-8). He
faithfully expected God to act (42:11). [The One Year Through the Bible
Devotional by Dave Veerman re Psa. 42:1-6]
The writer of this psalm was feeling low. He wondered, Where
are you, God? Have you forgotten me? Yet somehow he was able to
remember what God had done for him, and somehow he was able to praise God
in the dark times.
We all face times of discouragement, times when we wonder if
God is really there. Some of us even face extended periods of
depression. When you feel yourself slipping into the zone of doubt, one
antidote is praise -- remembering God's goodness to you. Read the Bible to
recall what God has done for others in the past. If you have kept a
journal of your Christian walk, review your own personal record of God's
answered prayer in your life.
Just as a deer depends upon water for life, so we believers
depend upon God for spiritual life. When you begin to feel separated
from God or wonder if he cares about your situation, take advantage
of the psalmist's "antidepressant": praise. Think about how much
God blesses you and takes care of you day by day. Dwell upon his
goodness and mercy. You'll be amazed by what happens when you start
praising instead of doubting. [The One Year Bible for New Believers re
Depression can be relieved by meditating on God's Word.
Depression is one of the most common emotional ailments. One antidote for
depression is to meditate on the record of God's goodness to his people.
This will take your mind off the present situation and give hope that
it will improve. It will focus your thoughts on God's ability to
help you rather than on your inability to help yourself. When you
feel depressed, take advantage of this psalm's antidepressant. Read
the Bible's accounts of God's goodness, and meditate on them.
Depression can be relieved by patience. There are plenty of
reasons from the past to trust God. In spite of the discouragement of
the moment, the author is convinced that God has plans for tomorrow
that are better. That fact may not make the darkness bright, but it
may make it more bearable until the morning.
Depression can be relieved by expecting God to act. The
psalmist confidently closes this song with a statement of hope in the
midst of difficult emotions. He may not feel like it, but he knows
that he will "again have plenty of reason to praise him for all that
he will do" (42:11). [Life Application SB re Psa. 42:5, 6]
Let's say a stress stirrer comes your way. The doctor decides
you need an operation. She detects a lump and thinks it best that
you have it removed. So there you are, walking out of her office.
You've just been handed this cup of anxiety. What are you going to do
with it? You can place it in one of two pots.
You can dump your bad news in the vat of worry and pull out
the spoon. Turn on the fire.
Stew on it. Stir it. Mope for a while. Brood for a time.
Won't be long before you'll have a delightful pot of pessimism.
How about a different idea? The pot of prayer. Before the
door of the doctor's office closes, give the problem to God. "I
receive your lordship. Nothing comes to me that hasn't passed through
you." In addition, stir in a healthy helping of gratitude.
Your part is prayer and gratitude. God's part? Peace and
protection. [Grace For The Moment SB By Max Lucado re Psa. 43:4]
Ole Hallesby cautions that we can avoid a lot of pain and
confusion if we understand the differences between doubt and unbelief.
When we experience doubt, which we all do, and we consider it the
same as unbelief, we endanger our prayer lives.
Unbelief is the refusal to believe, the hardening of our
hearts, the refusal to open the door when Jesus knocks. But doubt,
Hallesby assures us, is not harmful to prayer. In fact, it serves to
render us helpless and prompts us to admit our need.
Nevertheless, Hallesby says, these thoughts seem to
contradict the plain words of Scripture - that if we pray doubting, we
can't expect to be heard.
To get this straight, we must consider context and other
Scriptures. Hallesby points especially to the story of the father who came
to Jesus when the disciples couldn't cast an evil spirit out of his
son. When Jesus questioned him about his faith, the father exclaimed,
"I believe! Help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24, NKJV).
Hallesby says it was the man himself who condemned his doubts
as unbelief. But actually he was exhibiting a doubting faith -
which is coming to Jesus in our distress. Jesus took it as faith,
which Hallesby says is evident from the fact that Jesus healed the
boy. He points to other times when unbelief kept Jesus from doing his
mighty works; but this boy was healed.
For this father, everything had seemed hopeless. He wasn't
sure that Jesus could succeed where the disciples had failed. He
vacillated between faith and doubt - as we often do.
"We have faith enough when we bring our needs to Jesus and
leave them with him," Hallesby assures us. "We do as the father did,
telling him about our doubts and weak faith. I can bring everything to
Jesus, no matter how difficult. I have let Jesus into my heart, and he
will fulfill my heart's desire."
Lord Jesus, I bring all my doubts to you and all the concerns
that cause me such distress. Thank you for the assurance that your
favor doesn't depend on the depth of my belief. Please do your work of
healing and comfort. [The One Year Book of Encouragement by Harold Myra
re Psa. 42:5]
The psalmist talked to himself as an exercise in Presence. He
spoke to his own soul about truth. That happened a lot in the Psalms,
in fact. David told his soul to bless the Lord (Psalm 103:1-2,
NKJV) and resolved to constantly praise and boast in the Lord (Psalm
34:1-2), for two examples among many. Here, an unnamed psalmist asks some
probing questions about his own discouragement and then declares an
intent to praise. There are times, it seems, when self-talk is entirely
It's easy to see why. God wants us not only to know truth
intellectually but to believe it deep in our hearts. When we mentally agree
with Scripture but let circumstances or feelings dictate an opposite
view - for example, when we believe God can do the impossible but
then despair in an impossible situation - we are not in sync with
Him. We have to assert truth against circumstances and feelings, just
like Abraham, who "against all hope" continued to hope and believe
(Romans 4:18, NIV). The hearts of those who tell themselves to do that
will beat with God's heartbeat.
Hear His desire: "My truth is real and unchanging, regardless
of how you feel in any given moment or what you see with your eyes.
Much of life is a decision about how and what to see - the reality I
tell you about or the 'reality' you perceive. My people, those with
My heart, learn to insist on seeing from My perspective rather than
theirs. That pleases Me more than you know. I show My favor to those who
look past apparent contradictions to see Me. When you choose to tell
yourself the truth, I choose to fill your decision with My Presence."
Father, I choose Your truth and adamantly tell my own soul to
embrace it. I know my perceptions aren't always accurate and my feelings
aren't always reliable. But You are. What You have said is trustworthy,
and I can depend on it. [The One Year Experiencing God's Presence
Devotional by Chris Tiegreen re Psa. 43:5]
Eugene Peterson succinctly captures a core reality of our
faith: "We live in a creation and not a madhouse."
It's not hard to see why it often seems a madhouse - in fact,
an ugly madhouse of unthinkable cruelty. What's it really like for
the world's millions of sexual slaves and terrorized villagers? What
about desperate refugees fleeing their homes, and corrupt governments
starving families? It makes us wince when we're confronted with what has
happened to so many innocent people. Hopes dashed, lives cut short,
poverty grinding the poor and oppressed into starvation and degradation.
Peterson's eyes are wide open to such realities. In fact, he
quotes a statement from Martin Luther that describes Luther's acid test
of a pastor: "Does he know of death and the devil?"
The results of sin and evil have been visited with a
vengeance on God's good creation, and we are engaged in spiritual battles
beyond our own capacities.
This is our Father's world, but the forces of Satan and the
evil in the human heart make it a fallen world. Those who see no
Creator and no destiny for creation may well conclude that it is a
madhouse. But Peterson proclaims, "Our existence is derived from God and
destined for God," and that is what transforms our bewilderment into
Gene writes of those faithful ones "who dare to live by the
great invisibles of grace, who accept forgiveness, who believe
promises, who pray. These people daily and dangerously decide to live by
faith and not by works, in hope and not despair."
Creator and Sustainer, when I am dismayed by the troubles
around me and throughout the world, grant me a vision of your great
purpose for creation and your love for the world. Fill me with your
hope. [The One Year Book of Encouragement by Harold Myra re Psa.
Canst thou answer this, believer? Canst thou find any reason why
thou art so often mourning instead of rejoicing? Why yield to gloomy
anticipations? Who told thee that the night would never end in day? Who told
thee that the sea of circumstances would ebb out till there should be
nothing left but long leagues of the mud of horrible poverty? Who told
thee that the winter of thy discontent would proceed from frost to
frost, from snow, and ice, and hail, to deeper snow, and yet more heavy
tempest of despair? Knowest thou not that day follows night, that flood
comes after ebb, that spring and summer succeed winter? Hope thou
then! Hope thou ever! For God fails thee not. Dost thou not know that
thy God loves thee in the midst of all this? Mountains, when in
darkness hidden, are as real as in day, and God's love is as true to thee
now as it was in thy brightest moments. No father chastens always:
thy Lord hates the rod as much as thou dost; he only cares to use it
for that reason which should make thee willing to receive it,
namely, that it works thy lasting good. Thou shalt yet climb Jacob's
ladder with the angels, and behold him who sits at the top of it - thy
covenant God. Thou shalt yet, amidst the splendours of eternity, forget
the trials of time, or only remember them to bless the God who led
thee through them, and wrought thy lasting good by them. Come, sing
in the midst of tribulation. Rejoice even while passing through the
furnace. Make the wilderness to blossom like the rose! Cause the desert
to ring with thine exulting joys, for these light afflictions will
soon be over, and then "for ever with the Lord," thy bliss shall
"Faint not nor fear, his arms are near,
He changeth not, and thou art dear;
Only believe and thou shalt see,
That Christ is all in all to thee." [Morning and Evening by
Charles H. Spurgeon re Psa. 42:9]
Where is God when we're in the emergency room with a severely
injured loved one? Where was God in the bombing of the Murrah Federal
Building in Oklahoma City in 1995? Where was God in the terrorist attacks
of September 11, 2001? When trouble or tragedy strikes, we long for
God, the living God. Who can tell us where God is? His Word tells us
over and over: he is in the one who visits those in prison; he is in
those who give food to the hungry; he is in the comfort of a loving
arm extended around those who are hurting. He is in the prayers of a
mother for her sick child. He is in the rescuers who work to save lives
and in the missionaries who leave family and friends and personal
comforts to share the gospel with those in darkness. He is demonstrated
best, though, at the Cross, where he gave his only Son, Jesus Christ,
for our sakes that we might have hope for this life and for
LORD, I praise you that you are Emmanuel - God with us - in
everything we experience as we walk through this broken, hurting world.
Help me to be your hands and feet today, your words of comfort and
encouragement to those who need to know "where you are" in their times of deep
need. [Praying Through The Bible By Fuller re Psa. 42:1-3, 11]
The presence of God is a fact of life. St. Paul rightly said of
God, "in Him we live, and move, and have our being." Jesus said, "the
kingdom of God is within you." we may, by defying the purpose of God,
insulate ourselves from that presence. We may, by unrepented sin, cut off
the sense of God because we are clouded by a sense of guilt. We may,
through no fault of our own, be unable to sense the God who is all about
us. But the fact remains that He is with us all the time. J. B.
It is said that when Luther was at the brink of despair, he
would ask the question in this verse, and say to Melanchthon, "Come,
Philipp, let us sing the 46th Psalm." [SDA Bible Commentary re Psa.
In 1999, I was a single woman in the process of adopting a
child with special needs. I'll never forget meeting Marissa for the
first time. Petite, beautiful, and seven years old, she was still in
kindergarten and had already been removed from several foster homes because
of behavior problems. Still, her social worker assured me that as
an only child in a stable home environment, Marissa would blossom.
I would later learn that my daughter's brain had been permanently
damaged by prenatal exposure to alcohol.
I was naively confident about my ability to parent a child.
Reality intervened, and I became increasingly afraid that I did not have
the skills, the financial assets, or the patience to raise this
child. One day, I seriously contemplated calling Marissa's social
worker and explaining that I could not be considered as a permanent
adoptive resource for her.
I had been reading through The One Year Bible, and Psalm 42
was part of that day's Scripture selection. I really felt God was
talking directly to me. Satan had filled my heart with fear, but God
reminded me that his unlimited strength would empower and teach me to
create an environment of transformational love. His unlimited assets
would provide all our needs. My daughter is a miracle, a daily
reminder of God's faithfulness.
In order to protect her daughter's privacy, Julie C., a
mother and a writer, would prefer to not use her full last name. [The
One Year Bible Live Verse Devotional re Psa. 42:11]
Several years ago I was driving down a rain-swept street in
Long Beach, California, on an errand from my office. It was cold, the
day was dreary, the sky was overcast, I couldn't find the address I
was seeking, and my spirit was out of sorts. I hadn't wanted to
leave the comfort of a warm office, but I had no choice. You know how
it goes - the demands of duty.
As I was driving along, fretting about a problem that was
sapping my emotional energy, I said to God, "Lord, would you please give
me a perk? Some little something to lift my spirit? Doesn't have to
be big. Doesn't have to be flashy. Just do something creative to
cheer me up and to remind me that I'm glad I'm alive. I'd appreciate
that very much."
At that moment I turned the corner, looked to my left, and
there in the cab of a pickup truck sat two clowns. They were fully
decked out in clown regalia, complete with red woolen yarn hair, big
bow ties, painted faces, and each holding a helium-filled balloon.
As I looked at them, they simultaneously turned, looked at me, and
flashed toothless grins from ear to ear.
What a unique answer to prayer! I absolutely loved it, and
all alone in my car I yelled, "All right! Great perk, Lord. What an
idea. How clever you are. Who would ever have thought of two clowns in
But we don't have to wonder, do we? God gave us the gift of
laughter, so he must enjoy a good giggle now and then too. Luci Swindall
Father, thank you for the surprises and delights you put in
my life. Without you life would be such a drag. I love you,
Father. Amen [The One Year Devotional of Joy and Laughter by Mary
Hollingsworth re Psa. 43:4]
"Count Your Blessings" By The Martins (2010) - You Tube: