My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?
Why art Thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
O my God, I cry in the daytime, but Thou hearest not;
and in the night season, and am not silent.
But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
Our fathers trusted in Thee: they trusted, and Thou didst deliver them.
They cried unto Thee, and were delivered:
they trusted in Thee, and were not confounded.
But I am a worm, and no man;
a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
All they that see me laugh me to scorn:
they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
“He trusted on the LORD that He would deliver him:
let Him deliver him, seeing He delighted in him.”
But Thou art He that took me out of the womb:
Thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.
I was cast upon Thee from the womb:
Thou art my God from my mother’s belly.
Be not far from me; for trouble is near;
for there is none to help.
Many bulls have compassed me:
strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.
They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint:
my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws,
and Thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
For dogs have compassed me:
the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me:
they pierced my hands and my feet.
I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
But be not Thou far from me, O LORD:
O my strength, haste Thee to help me.
Deliver my soul from the sword;
my darling from the power of the dog.
Save me from the lion’s mouth:
for Thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
I will declare Thy name unto my brethren:
in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee.
Ye that fear the LORD, praise Him;
all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify Him;
and fear Him, all ye the seed of Israel.
For He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
neither hath He hid His face from him;
but when he cried unto Him, He heard.
My praise shall be of Thee in the great congregation:
I will pay my vows before them that fear Him.
The meek shall eat and be satisfied:
they shall praise the LORD that seek Him:
your heart shall live forever.
All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD:
and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee.
For the kingdom is the LORD’s: and He is the governor among the nations.
All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship:
all they that go down to the dust shall bow before Him:
and none can keep alive his own soul.
A seed shall serve Him;
it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
They shall come,
and shall declare His righteousness unto a people that shall be born,
that He hath done this.
I love this psalm! For one thing, it is prophetic of the suffering of our Lord Jesus on the cross. But also, despite the intense pain and suffering that prompted David to write it, the psalm is nevertheless filled with hope and praise. This is my example for those darkest days when it seems God does not hear my prayer. David felt that way too, but God was listening. He just had a different time table is all. And in the end of every trial God’s name was magnified, and David always made it safely through to the other side of the suffering.
God does not promise us a life without suffering, but He does promise to go through it with us.
Isaiah 43:1-2 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
Perhaps you noticed that I took this psalm out of order. I was saving it for this week on purpose because this is a special week. Some time ago I was asked to share my testimony about how the Lord delivered me from bipolar depression. David also battled depression—not with medication, but with prayer and praise. When David was depressed, he prayed to the Lord. First, he poured out his need to God, then thanked God for past victories, and finally praised Him for the promise of future victories with certainty that they had already been won. And David’s prayer was always accompanied with singing. We can all pray, and we can all sing, although others might not appreciate our singing as much as the Lord does. That means we have the same tools at our disposal that David had.
I am certainly not making light of anyone’s battle with depression or bipolar disorder. It’s real, and it’s a problem. My own recovery was not a quick fix, nor was it easy. It was hard, first of all, to admit that I needed help. But my message to you is that Jesus can give healing from mental illness just as surely as He can heal physical illness, and this week I’m going to tell you what He did for me.
Photo taken along Skyline Drive, Virginia, 2014.