Research shows that 22 million Americans suffer from depression each year. Depression makes you feel hopeless, useless, and lazy. The CDC says women are twice as likely to suffer depression, but that men, women, youth, adults, and all ethnic groups suffer from it. Medical advice for coping includes exercise and prescription drugs. In addition to these methods, Psalm 42 offers another way. The psalmist felt lonely, discouraged, and abandoned — distant from God, either because he was in captivity, or because he felt spiritually distant. Whatever the cause, he longed for God’s presence and for the wholeness that comes from a God-relationship. After tracing his depression to his alienation from God, he expresses craving for God. “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? Day and night, I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me saying, “Where is this God of yours?” My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be.” Notice this: in the midst of his despair, he finds hope by recalling God’s faithfulness in the past. He found what many of God’s people find: When we focus on God — His wisdom, love, and power for us — His ability rather than our inability, we gain relief from depression.
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