When we released Psalm 42 and began discussing our struggle with depression and anxiety, we had no idea it would resonate with so many of you.
I think that is one of the tricks of depression. It makes you feel like you’re all alone. There is something healing about having another person resonate and sympathize with your pain. It’s been healing for us and our hope is that this song has brought a bit a healing to some of you.
Not only does depression us feeling leave us feeling all alone. It leaves us alone with our own thoughts. It leaves us alone with the same words of hopelessness echoing and reverberating in our heads morning after morning, night after night.
That’s why we were so encouraged when we read David’s cry in Psalm 42:5 – “Why are you depressed again, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” It was our moment of realizing that we’re not alone. Not even among the heroes of our faith. Depression isn’t just an issue for those in the world. Its dark cloud has been pressing against the souls of believers throughout history.
What we learn from these heroes of the faith is not that we should never have to fight against depression. What we learn from the heroes of our faith is HOW to fight against depression.
In the quotation above from Psalm 42 – we jumped right into the middle of the chapter. We did that in order to see David’s emotional state as he wrote this Psalm. But what if we now zoom out? What if we now start from the beginning?
As the deer longs for the flowing streams, so I long for you, God. I thirst for God, the living God.
If you’ve been around the Church as long as I have, then you’re probably familiar with this part of Psalm 42. You’ve seen it spread across coffee cups and church walls in the most beautiful of fonts. Maybe it’s been attached to a painting or a work of art that conveyed a sense of peace and tranquility.
But now we see that David didn’t write this from a place of peace. He wasn’t sitting on the greenest of grass next to a bubbling brook armed with a harp and a smile. He was desperate and this Psalm is a plea – a cry for help – a groan of longing.
Have you ever been thirsty? I mean, really thirsty? The kind of thirst that leaves you panting for any drop of liquid you could find? — It’s not a pleasant feeling.
Depression is one of the many things in life that produces thirst. It’s a soul drying disease leaving us parched and desperate for something — anything! And if we are not careful, we just might drink-in whatever we can get our hands on.
David isn’t a hero of our faith because he never struggled. He’s a hero because of how he struggled. David knew the remedy for his thirst. He knew that what he needed most of all was more of God Himself. And so that is where he starts. In the pit — in the thirst — in the desperation — in the depression — David cries out to God for more of God.
The question is — are we crying out to God for more of God?
Listen closely, if you find yourself in a thirsty place there is good news for you — Jesus tells thirsty people to come.
If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.
Did the promise hold true for David? Those who take the time to examine all of the writings of David will soon learn that he most definitely had streams of living water flowing deep within. Though he struggled, David had this stream-like quality throughout his life that was bubbling under the surface. It was a stream of hope, a stream of praise, a stream of joy, a stream of wisdom, and a stream of life.
If you are struggling with depression and anxiety — you are not alone. The struggle is real and threatening. But in an odd, unexpected way — if you are in a thirsty place, then you are in a dangerous and yet wildly wonderful place. Thirsty people are desperate people — where are you going to aim your desperation? There are various things in this world and in this life that promise relief — they promise satisfaction, healing, comfort, and escape. But Jesus is saying to you right now – “I am the life” (John 14:6) As you saw above, He is making you some big life-giving promises. Will you believe him?
I hope and pray that you do. He has always been so faithful to us. We’ve struggled and with every victory there seems to be a new struggle. But the more we are learning to cry out, like David, for more of God Himself — the more we are noticing the steady stream rising within.