Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eye wastes away from grief,
my soul and body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my misery,
and my bones waste away.
I am the scorn of all my adversaries,
a horror to my neighbours,
an object of dread to my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street flee from me.
I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
For I hear the whispering of many—
terror all around!—
as they scheme together against me,
as they plot to take my life.
But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, ‘You are my God.’
My times are in your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your steadfast love.
Have you ever been that person others run or hide from? You know whom I’m talking about; depressed, scary, sad or even worse, someone so chipper that your nerves work overtime to keep up with all the excitement. I think there are times when we are on both sides of this conundrum. And at present, I resonate with the Psalmist who speaks of being depressed.
I have a predilection for being a bit cynical or brooding, so when advent and lent come around, I’m in my element. The problem with staying in this emotional place for much more than 40 days can lead to the place the Psalmist is lamenting, and I can’t help but feel like I’ve been stuck here for way longer than 40 days.
But here’s the thing – even when I’m in this place, I know I’m not alone. I may feel alone and sometimes even believe I’m alone. I am never alone. Never. You are never alone. Never. In the deepest, intense, darkest nights of the soul, we are never alone.
Mark Miller composed a haunting anthem a few years ago entitled, “I Believe.” The lyrics are from these words found etched on a wall in Germany after the Holocaust:
I believe in the sun, even when it’s not shining.
I believe in love, even when I don’t feel it.
I believe in God, even when [God] is silent.
May these words and the words of the Psalmist give you hope of never being alone amidst the depressed moments of life:
But me? I trust you, Lord! I affirm, “You are my God.” My future is in your hands. Don’t hand me over to my enemies, to all who are out to get me! Shine your face on your servant; save me by your faithful love! (Psalm 39:14-16)
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