O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?"

This guy is in the desert. Ever been in the desert before, spiritually speaking? Have you ever felt completely cut off from God, like at your core you are unlovable, maybe even sensed that you are damaged goods, or wicked?

Not only is it human to be depressed, but depression is made complete when we sense we are cut off from God. The Bible speaks of hell as a place where God’s presence is missing – this is the ultimate terror, the ultimate kind of thirst. Emotions crowd around us in a kind of gathering dark. They suffocate us. They pin us down. They force bitter thoughts through our minds, and we lose a sense of God’s presence – we can see the process happening in the writer of this Psalm. He’s just struggling here. Where is hope of resolution? How do we get out?

I’m going to tell you, and my answer to that question is going to seem like a cliché at first, so bear with me. The way out of depression is to focus on God. I told you it would sound cliché. But let’s look at this, because actually it is a profound truth.
Psalm 42 begins with this expression of spiritual dryness, of depression.

From that point on, the rest of the Psalm alternates between expressions of depression, and the Psalmist reminding himself of God’s presence.

In v. 4, he recalls a time when things were better. I used to lead everybody in praising God, he says. Then in verse 5, “so what are you so upset about?” And then he tells himself to do something. He says, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God. The Psalmist reminds himself that this will not last forever. He reminds himself that there is reason for hope, that one day he will praise God with joy again. You can sense this guy’s pain. He is just clinging to God in this kind of desperate way. I will yet praise Him.

And because he knows this, he says, I find no comfort in myself, so “I will remember you (v. 6), from the land of the Jordan.” The land of the Jordan was far from the homeland of the writer and basically he says, “Even here in this place where I feel so far from you, I will focus on you.” 7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. In other words, I am in anguish – in a flood of depression.


Psalms 42:8 (NIV)
8 By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me-- a prayer to the God of my life.

Through his anguish and depression, he reminds himself of a constant flow of God’s mercy, and that it is God who sustains him and keeps him alive.

Folks, see why this sounds cliché but it’s not? It’s not just about saying, “I’m so incredibly depressed – gee whiz, good thing God’s here to make it all better for me.” This is gritty.