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! 


Psalms 42-43 
   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 
own thirst.  
   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. 
A madhouse.  
   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 
never wane. 
   "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. 
Phillips (1906-1982)  


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 
a pickup?"  
   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] 


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