Why are you Downcast, Oh My Soul?

Written by on April 3, 2023

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my savior and my God. Psalms 42:5

As human beings, we are creatures of emotions. We live on a roller-coaster of feelings: sadness and joy, fear and confidence, anger and calm, hate and love, loneliness and camaraderie. We sometimes struggle with unrealized desires, some of which deeply burden the soul. The psalmist was also going through a struggle. He was looking for a solution for his soul that was depressed, despondent, and dejected.

There are instances as God’s children that our souls are downcast within us, some of them include:

The guilt of sin: The guilt of sin lying with weight and power upon the conscience can make any soul downcast.

The unceasing conflict that exists between the desire to live under the leading of God and the desire to live after the cause of this world. In other words, the conflict between nature and grace, the spirit and flesh, will downcast the soul in proportion to the intensity of the struggle.

The hiding of God’s countenance, our inability to realize His gracious presence, or feel the manifestations of His priceless favor can make our soul despair. When we are incapable of seeing Him in our activities, we are left to wonder if God is still with us, thus making us dejected.

Temptations; when we are assailed with the temptation to blasphemy, to curse and swear, to doubt the truth of the scriptures, to question the very being of God, to disbelieve the Godhead of Jesus, to commit the worst of iniquities, and these temptations are perpetually struggling and striving for the mastery in our heart.

Afflictions that we pass through. The Lord sending troubles means for them to do specific work and purpose to honor and praise his name. When going through afflictions, however, we do not see this great purpose, all we feel is being crushed, we ask ourselves why we have to go through these troubles thus leading us to be downcast.

Knowing what makes our soul downcast, we turn to ourselves to solve the problem. We wallow in self-pity, complain, look to others for help, or do nothing making the depression go on. The psalmist doesn’t leave us without a solution or a way to overcome our discouraged souls.

Psalms 42:5 asks us to place our hope in God, for hope in the living God is God’s medicine for our soul in times of despair.  William Gunall wrote, “Faith tells the soul what Christ has done for it and so comforts it; hope revives the soul with the news of what Christ will do for it.” Hope keeps our eyes looking forward and reminds us that our best days are yet to come in Jesus Christ. Our hope is in God, who is transcendent and personal and promises never to leave or forsake us. God works all things together for good to us who he has called according to his purpose.

To grow secure in anticipating future blessings, we should look back on our prior experiences for God’s grace to stir up our hearts with confidence that the Lord will again show such favor. We will again praise Him because he is our salvation. He is not merely God, but as the psalmist declared, he is “My God”. He has helped us before and will help us again.

We have a guaranteed future and an inheritance that outshines all discouragement and despair we may experience in the present. For our hope is based not on probabilities but on the divine. The Lord may not reduce our pain at the moment, but he does maximize with a vision of our promised inheritance. Hope delights in God without demanding that he fulfill his promise on our timetable. When we are downcast, God is building patience in us. Hope that is seen is not hope, for who hopes for that he sees? But if we have hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:24-25) Hope is an investment that bears a sort of compounding interest that increases the soul in an enduring job. So if you are asking why are you downcast, oh my soul? then preach to yourself, hope now in God.

Reader's opinions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Current track