Depression Is Normal; It Needs a Soundtrack

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March 3, 2021

Psalm 42

To the tune of “My Soul Gives Glory to My God” C.M. Sing it at seedbed.com/soundtrack

1 As the deer pants for water clear,
so my soul thirsts for You;
2 My soul thirsts for the living God;
when can I meet with You?

3 My tears have been my food all through
the day and through the night;
While men mock me and say all day,
“Where is your God of might?”

4 These things I do remember, Lord,
as I pour out my soul:
How I went with the multitude 
into the house of God.

I led the great procession with
a shout of joy and song;
With thanksgiving I went among
the festive, joyful throng.

5 Why are you so downcast, my soul?
Why so disturbed in me?
Put hope in God—I’ll praise Him yet;
my Savior God is He!

6 My soul is downcast within me,
so I remember You;
From land along the Jordan, heights
of Hermon, Mizar, too.

7 Deep calls to deep within the roar
of Your great waterfalls;
Your waves and breakers swept o’er me;
they flood me without pause.

8 By day the Lord directs His love,
His steadfast love to me;
At night His song is with me still—
my prayer to God will be.

9 I say to God my Rock, “O why
have You forgotten me?
Why must I mourn all day oppressed
by the vile enemy?”

10 My bones do suffer mortal pain;
my foes taunt me all day;
“Where is your God?” they mock with scorn;
“Where is your God?” they say.

11 Why are you so downcast, my soul?
Why so disturbed in me?
Put hope in God—I’ll praise Him yet;
my Savior God is He!

CONSIDER THIS

Depression is a normal part of being human. The Psalms present depression as par for the course in the human experience. The singer instructs us in the counterintuitive practice of embracing depression rather than trying to escape it.

Song 42 is not a sweet praise chorus about a thirsty deer. It is the desperate cry of a depressed soul. The singer literally can’t stop crying. The promising path of past success has come to a screeching halt, a dead end with no way out. The Quakers would speak of this almost universal human experience as “way closing.” Depression can be expected in the wake of way closing. Frantic efforts to make way open again will only make it worse.

The psalm shows us the contours of an unlikely remedy: singing. Here’s the shape of the song. We must become gut-level honest about our interior conditions, which requires that we ask our souls the piercing question: Soul, why are you so depressed? And we may need some help from a friend, pastor, or counselor to answer it. Medication can be very helpful in such times, but it is not a strategy. We must learn to grieve our losses and even mourn and cry in this stuck place. We must learn to pour out our souls to God.

Finally, we must cease anchoring our hopes in “way open,” which so often in our minds is just another idealistic reconstruction of the past. We must follow the song to the bridge. What makes a good song great isn’t the chorus. It’s the bridge. The bridge leads us out of the depths of sadness and into the depths of Love, where we find that “way” is not some new opportunity or direction—Way is God!

By day the Lord directs His love,
His steadfast love to me;
At night His song my comfort is;
my prayer to God will be.

Depression is normal. It can take time to pass through. Way is God. Never stop singing.

Ask Yourself. Share with Another.

Many people suffer with a condition called “low-grade” depression. It’s not necessarily diagnosable, but it’s there. Pardon the image, but it’s sort of like a constipation of the soul. Do you get what I’m talking about? You feel neither alive nor dead, but the dim “blah” of in-between. Does this sound familiar to your own experience? Sometimes just naming it can help. Let the song lead you in praying through it.

P.S. ‘s

ATTN PASTORS IN THE HOUSE— Join us for our Pastor’s Fellowship Retreat Extended this Thursday afternoon at 2pm central. Zoom link here. (Password: 123456) You don’t have time for it but your soul can’t afford to miss it. 

EVERY WEDNESDAY AT NOON (CST):  THE WATCH FOR AWAKENING ALL CALL PRAYER MEETING. It’s powerful. Give it a try. 

DOWNLOAD THE WATCH FOR AWAKENING PRAYER GUIDE HERE. My Dad says its the best thing we have ever done. ;0) 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi
    I agree the lent prayer guide is beautiful.
    It would be nice to include in the section awakening in hearts (or somewhere) , for God to awaken out complacency toward life of the unborn and forgive us for not protecting the babies in the womb.

    We have 61 million babies aborted in this county in 47 years. That’s 1.3 million a year. This sinful condition affects our hearts and the welfare, moral fiber of this nation.

    Just a thought. KATHY

  2. Soul, why are you so depressed? Why do you hold on to the things that can only bring you low? Grieve, mourn and cry, let it go. Let it not fester deep within, distorting all that you see. Cry out to the one who can comfort a broken heart. Choose to gaze upon his loveliness, turn you eyes upon him. For truly he is the lifter of your soul. Weeping may endure a night BUT Joy will come in the morning. Seek it out, seek the abundant life he promises, look intentionally for it. Take your thoughts captive, and meditate on his blessing, for he has given you the air you breathe to face another day. Speak life to yourself. Count your many blessings name them one by one. Shut your mind to the lies of the enemy and put a new song in your heart. Praise him! Praise him through the storm. Yes count your many blessing for God has given you a new day.

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