The days are darkening as winter takes hold, and it seems like we all know someone who is struggling to keep up their spirits (or are struggling ourselves.) This week I was struck by an old devotional I stumbled across from the Mennonite publication Rejoice. Written by Nancy Witmer as a meditation on Psalm 42, it spoke to my own feelings of deep sadness as I look at the world around us in general and at the suffering of people I know and love in specific. I don't think I can improve on Nancy's words, so I've reproduced them here. I recommend that you first read the psalm and dwell on its expression of endurance in the face of depression, and then allow Nancy's words to bring the scripture into your life:
I admired Laura. She was a confident woman, a
glowing Christian, a willing worker and leader in the church. Laura
reflected the best qualities of the model woman of Proverbs 31 and
of the New Testament heroines, Dorcas and Priscilla.
Then a series of hardships dropped on Laura. A family member’s
long-term illness and too many responsibilities slowly crushed
her upbeat spirit. Mental and physical exhaustion drained Laura’s
positive outlook on life, leaving in its place a deep sadness and
“I don’t even want to crawl out of bed in the morning,” Laura
told me. “Every day is harder than the one before. It’s been ten long
years. Where is God? I’m trying to believe that he is in control of
my life, but I can’t see it now.” Laura sighed. “Nevertheless, I must
cling to God’s promises because I’ve got nothing else left.”
The writer of Psalm 42 also struggles to trust in God. This former
worship leader now questions whether God even remembers
him. Sadness swallows his former joy. Enemies surround him with
taunts and threaten his life. Despite the psalmist’s desperation,
however, he tells himself, “Hope in God; for I shall again praise
Today, we find ourselves in a hopeless situation. We’re exhausted
and weary. We feel like God has forgotten us. May we take heart
and continue to hope in God. We will praise him again.
"Deep calls to deep," as the psalm says, and the depths of our despair calls out to the depths of God's love. May that unfathomable, abiding love be your daily companion and nightly song.
Blessings of strength and hope,