The Depths of Despair (well, almost)
As a believer, have you ever wondered where God is? Have you ever felt like He has totally left you alone? The writer of Psalm 42 & 43 felt utterly distraught, beaten down, and alone. As women, we can have roller coaster emotions of being “down” monthly, but the word used for “why are you cast down, O my soul” in this passage was pretty near the “depths of despair.” This is where Anne “with an E” would say she has been at times. Then, of course, the wonderful, strong woman, Marilla, said she cannot understand the depths of despair. Not every woman is as colorful and emotional as Anne of Green Gables and not every woman is as dry as Marilla. What is a woman to do when she feels at the depths of despair? That’s a great question!
This writer had experienced not only the presence of God but lead others into God’s presence. There was clearly a felt absence of the Lord reiterated throughout Pslam 42. At times, I have felt this depth and this absence. As a leader who knows God’s presence and leads other women into God’s presence, I’m reminded here to do what the psalmist did. Talk to yourself. Ask questions. Ask yourself, “Why are you cast down? Why do you feel in the depths of despair?” What’s the point of that? It’s important to evaluate where you are emotionally and spiritually and physically. Ask yourself why? How did you get there? Can you change it? What can you do to change it? Is it something that you need to accept and move on in God’s grace?
Then, Speak truth to yourself! Preach to yourself! Tell yourself, what you need to hear. Listen to what this writer says, “Hope in God! For I WILL praise Him again.” He did this three times indicating it was an intentional effort that he kept doing. You MUST speak truth to yourself, because your enemies (whether it is your lost family, friends, co-workers, or whispers from the devil) will tell you God has left you, that He has forgotten you. And that’s not possible! Isaiah 49:15 reminds us that just like a nursing mother won’t forget her children (most at least), God will NOT forget you! Remind yourself, “This hard time will pass.” Put your hope in God! There will be reason to praise Him again!
I’m also reminded that, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7). He wants us to have a “sound mind”—keeping our mind and hearts believing truth—truth about ourselves and truth about God. He has not abandoned you. He loves you and will not leave you! Keep speaking truth to yourself. God is your Rock. He’s your Salvation. He loves you so much He commands His love daily (its unstoppable) and His song is with you at night. Just as you reassure your children you love them when they need it and when they are unsure about your love and you sing to them to comfort their little hearts, so also the Lord is there. He is reassuring you with His song—even if you don’t “feel” it for the moment. Does this really work? Yes, or it wouldn’t be given to us to do. It’s a step of faith and its one that I can most assuredly attest to. So, dear sister, don’t be Anne "with an E.”
(Disclaimer: if you feel your despair is clinical, seek godly, professional believers who will help you appropriately.)