Read Psalm 42:1-11
Twice in Psalm 42 the writer asks: "Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?" (vv. 5,11). Perhaps you have asked the same thing. Why do we have hours, sometimes days, perhaps weeks of depression and discouragement? There may be times when we are not at our best physically. I think of Elijah, who had that difficult experience on Mount Carmel when he battled the prophets of Baal and God sent fire from heaven. When it was over, he was tired. His nerves had been stretched to the breaking point, and he got discouraged and ran away. He needed food and sleep, so God sent an angel to feed him and give him rest.
Sometimes our depression is satanic. The Enemy is throwing darts at us. And instead of holding up the shield of faith, we fail to trust God. Those darts then start fires of depression and discouragement in our lives. Sometimes our depression comes from guilt because of unconfessed sin. Sometimes it's just sorrow because of circumstances. We may have lost a loved one or a friend. Sometimes we feel that we have failed and that everything has come to an end.
What's the cure for all of this? "Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance" (v. 5). You have a secure future in Jesus Christ. The best is yet to come. Hope in God and start praising Him. The psalmist said, "I shall yet praise Him." But don't wait! Start praising Him now. I've discovered that when I get discouraged, the best thing to do is praise the Lord immediately. Praise is the greatest medicine for a broken heart. The psalmist praised God for "the help of His countenance." No matter how you feel or whatever your circumstances, if you'll look to the face of God, you'll discover that He's smiling on you.
How do you cope with discouragement? Certainly, if it is caused by guilt from unconfessed sin, you need to repent and ask forgiveness. Generally, the cure for being down is to hope in God and praise Him. Your hope in Him is well founded, for He is ever faithful to His Word. Are you discouraged? You may not be able to change your circumstances, but you can praise God.
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