“I hope everybody can find a little flame
Me, I say my prayers,
then just light myself on fire
and walk out on the wire once again.”
Counting Crows, “Goodnight Elizabeth”
Hope is a powerful thing— nothing compares. It truly is the ‘anchor of the soul.’ Without it, life would be hopeless, and that is intolerable to a human being. We will implode without hope. The psalmist was well aware of this tendency; he speaks to himself about this. He ‘talks to himself’ which can seem a little weird to some.
“Why are you discouraged, my soul?
Why are you so restless?
Put your hope in God,
because I will still praise him.
He is my savior and my God.”
Day-to-day life can be arduous. Sometimes faith falters and hopelessness becomes a deadly option. For those of us with debilitating illnesses this can be significant hazard. Depression can severely hinder us.
The writer of Psalm 42 understood this. Discouragement was a real issue, especially when he wondered what was swirling around him. (And I daresay he is not alone in this.)
He insists a certitude. He refuses to give in to the idea that failure is final. He will not allow himself to accept the finality of hopelessness. He will not surrender himself to this idea that ‘all is lost.’ The way he battles back is seen in an inner conversation with his soul. He speaks to himself directly concerning the great faithfulness of God to his situation.
It is real, it’s definitely not fluff. He operates in reality. He can’t pretend that the feeling of despondency is imaginary, it is far too cruel and real for it not to be.
However having a hope will cement me in the goodness and mercy of God. It is the sterling silver (.925) belief that He cares for me. The verse in 42:11 ties in with praise and worship. This is no minor thing. When we praise, we break the bonds of hopelessness, in a way that our souls can know, and appreciate. It decisively disarms the depression, and fills the embattled soul with hope. Pain can be a powerful indicator of depression unchecked. But hope changes the manner of which we live.
“Every Christian who struggles with depression struggles to keep their hope clear. There is nothing wrong with the object of their hope – Jesus Christ is not defective in any way whatsoever. But the view from the struggling Christian’s heart of their objective hope could be obscured by disease and pain, the pressures of life, and by Satanic fiery darts shot against them.
All discouragement and depression is related to the obscuring of our hope, and we need to get those clouds out of the way and fight like crazy to see clearly how precious Christ is.”
I wish you the best even as the battle intensifies. Jesus is enough. Look around, see Him and run right to Him. Your faith will hold you.