Friday, May 27, 2016

Why Be Depressed?

Psalm 43:1-5

The chapter and verse divisions were added into the scriptures long after they were originally written, for the purpose of making it easier to locate a passage.   The breaks do not necessarily follow the logical breaks in the passage, with verses frequently breaking in the middle of a sentence or chapters breaking in the middle of a story.  Unfortunately, as humans, we tend to stop at those breaks, with the result that sometimes we miss part of the story.  It was not until I began to write this blog that I realized this chapter is actually the conclusion of the previous chapter rather than a different Psalm.   

“Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.  For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” (Psalm 43:1-2)

David had struggled with depression, yet he knew that God would have mercy on him, forgiving his sin and imputing his faith to him for righteousness.  Though they had made many false accusations against him, he asks that God would show the truth, that by following Saul’s leadership rather than seeking God’s, Israel was sinning, trying to destroy and innocent man.  Despite his faith, he was still struggling with why God was allowing their attacks on him.  He knew God was the source of strength, but he still felt as if God had deserted him. 

Our emotional reaction to a situation often has little relation to the facts of the situation.  While it was designed to enable us to respond quickly to threats, a person must learn to channel the surge of energy into a logical solution, or one is likely to react in a counterproductive manner.  Since the emotions are always reactive rather than proactive, they frequently take time to catch up with reality, and if allowed to control our thinking, they may prevent seeing the reality.  As a result, our emotions are one of the easiest ways for Satan to gain control of our mind, keeping us depressed or angry. 

“O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.  Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.” (Psalm 43:3-4)

David prays that God would send his understanding so that he could see the truth and come to
God in appreciation and confidence.  The result would be a change in his emotions, resulting in rejoicing and praise rather than depression.   John 16:13 tells us, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.”  As we allow the Holy Spirit to show us the truth, our emotions will become far more stable, without the extremes of excitement or depression.    

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Psalm 43:5)

God is still in control of the universe, and neither his love nor his promises have changed.   Why do our emotions lead to depression?  God will still keep his promises protecting us and guiding us.  We just need to turn to him and depend on him, letting the Holy Spirit guide us.  Either depression or extreme excitement indicate we are not walking in the Spirit.  

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