Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul?

Written by Jason Allums

Psalms 42:5-6 NKJV:
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me; Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, And from the heights of Hermon, From the Hill Mizar.”

Depression is a physical, spiritual, and can be an emotional reaction to life that may or may not be in every person. This is part of the problem when discussing this topic. There are believers who do not suffer much from depression, not because they are more spiritual, but because they are physically different. Their chemistry and emotional makeup is simply different than others. And because of that truth, they have little understanding about depression. Some will easily dismiss those who deal with depression as to say they have less faith than those who don’t deal with depression.

However, with that being said, not all depression is simply physical. Some depression can be the result of sin in our lives. Knowingly living in disobedience to God’s Word can produce a depression inside of us of guilt or shame. That specific feeling of guilt which can be related to a particular, precise act is generally a true and reliable feeling of conviction.

Our conscience is the greatest preacher we have ever heard! If God is dealing with you about past sins, today would be the most opportune time for you to come to the mercy seat for forgiveness! Your depression may be eternity reaching for your attention. If so, that downcast soul you feel may be the best friend you have ever had. Turn from darkness to light by crying out to Jesus Christ!

But for so many people the physical problems they may have are not necessarily because of spiritual weakness or lack of faith but simply the fact that we all live in an earthen vessel and life affects us sometimes. The lives of some of God’s giant servants in the Bible dealt with this discouragement.

Some of David’s Psalms give us this insight that he had to overcome this emotion. Our opening text speaks to this fact in Psalm 42:5-6. And later David encountered such a traumatic experience that he had to encourage himself in the Lord.

Study Elijah’s life. He was so depressed that he cried out, “O Lord, take away my life” (1 Kings 19:4).

What about Jonah? He reached a point in his life that he said, “It is better for me to die than to live” (Jonah 4:3).

The Word of God does not condemn a person who suffers from physical depression. Nor does church history condemn that person. One of the Salvation Army’s greatest soldiers, Samuel Logan Brengle, once wrote, “My nerves were ragged, frazzled, exhausted. And such gloom and depression fell upon me as I have ever known, although depression is an old acquaintance of mine.” Another time, he wrote, “Prayer brought no relief. Indeed, I seemed to have lost the spirit of prayer and the power to pray. Then I remembered to give thanks and to praise God, though I felt no spirit of praise or thanksgiving. Feeling, except that of utter depression and gloom, was gone. But as I thanked God for the trail, it began to turn to blessing, light glimmered, grew very slowly, and then broke through the gloom. The depression passed away, and life was beautiful and desirable again, and full of gracious incomings once more.”
I want to encourage you to fight the good fight faith, no matter what that fight is. Depression is not necessarily a sign of spiritual failure. Don’t let Satan play volleyball with your emotions. Even in the difficult times, the Lord is there so remember His goodness!

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