The Biblical Solution For Depression According to Psalm 40
Steven G. Rise, PhD, LCSW-R
- · Do you ever feel like you are waiting patiently for God?
- · Do the minutes feel like days?
- · Do you feel like you are so low in a hole that you cannot get out?
Many of the answers to the topic of depression can be found in the 40th Psalm where David shares Who the source of his sustenance is. David reminds us that once we realize and acknowledge where our hope really lies (Psalm 42:5), God can build us up again. During this painful process of being rebuilt, God teaches us, molds us, and heals us. He also produces maturity in our lives from the adversity or tribulation (Romans 5: 1-5). Even beyond this, God incorporates the painful experiences into our lives so that others might be blessed by them as well (II Corinthians 1:3-5). In the words of C.S. Lewis, the danger lies in regarding God as “an airman regards his parachute; it’s there for emergencies, but he hopes that he will never have to use it.” Stand on the foundation of truth (Psalm 119: 142, 151, 160). It will bring healing (Psalm 107: 20), make you free (John 8: 32), and make you wise (II Timothy 3: 15-17).
- Sing praises to God. Even as you patiently await His deliverance and “lifting out from the miry clay.” For God will: lift you out from the pit, He will set your feet upon a sure foundation, and He will put a new song of praise in your mouth (v. 2). This “new song of praise” is a song of praise to Him. Its result? Others will see where your hope lies, who delivers you, and they will in turn also trust in God too (v. 3). Note the implications to the word “delivers”– it is a continual process (II Timothy 3: 11).
- Continually choose to trust God consistently. Trusting in God brings blessings (v.4). To not trust in God means that we are trusting inothers or ourselves to meet our needs (v.4). To leave God out of our problems is dangerous ground to stand on because we risk making poor choices which may in turn cause even more problems; and resentment may take hold of our hearts. The consistent process of choosing to trust God is difficult at times, but we can be confident that He will be faithful to complete the good work which He began in us (Philippians 1:6).Furthermore, through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we will find hope and bring glory to God (Romans 15: 4-6). Greater still, the hope that we find in the Word of God does not disappoint us because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5: 5). God offers us a stable foundation to stand upon; this helps us to understand what David meant when he said, “He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm (Psalm 40: 2).”
- Focus your thoughts on the many wonderful blessings that God has bestowed upon you (v.5). A major part of depression includes the negative, self-defeating thinking patterns that continually brings down, and prevents us from coming back up. Even if the negative cognition’s are true, God’s grace and mercy is sufficient to cover and soothe the deepest of our pains and mistakes if we would only cast our cares upon Him (I Peter 5: 7). So then, train your mind to focus on the lovely things that are worthy of praise; things that are true, honorable, and pure (Philippians 4:8). These thoughts will work in our minds to create a natural outpouring of joy in our lives. Put aside all bitterness, wrath, anger, slander, malice, and clamor (Ephesians 4: 31). These thoughts only serve to bring us down, and may even give the Devil an opportunity to gain a foothold in our lives (Ephesians 4: 26).
- Study and absorb God’s Word. In verse 8, we see David finding delight and the ability to do God’s will. Why? Because God’s Word was in his heart. When we put the Word of God to memory and place it within our hearts, the Holy Spirit can—and will—activate His Word and use it to restore and encourage us. God’s word is also able to judge our hearts, thoughts, and intentions (Hebrews 4: 12-16). Through the process of studying God’s Word, the Holy Spirit actually purges our minds and hearts from the sin that is buried deep within us. As we release the authority of these sins over to God through confession (I John 1: 9), seeking His forgiveness according to the price that He paid through His Son, Jesus Christ, on Calvary’s cross (John 3: 16), we are often relieved of the depression that is caused by un-confessed sin. Psalm 1: 2-3 speaks about the blessings that we receive when we find our delight in the law of the Lord, and meditate upon it (think about it, ponder its truths, and to investigate it). We will be firmly planted, we will bear fruit, we will be healthy and flourish (spiritually and emotionally), and we will prosper.
- Verbalize God’s goodness, faithfulness, and salvation in your life. As the word of God is absorbed into our hearts, proclaiming His righteousness is the natural response. This is true because when the Word is within our heart, it must overflow; it cannot be contained because it is living and active (Hebrews 4: 12). David shares this thought in verses 9 and 10 of Psalm 40. If you believe, you share. As God continually proves His goodness through our circumstances, repented sin, failures, and pain, how can we contain the joy and freedom that we have found in His great mercy and love?
- Place your confidence and trust in God, not in others or in yourself. God will preserve us through His lovingkindness and truth (v. 11). To trust in oneself means possible self-deception, which may lead to disillusionment (v. 12). David shared that when he was consumed by his iniquities he was not able to see. Thus, when overwhelmed, poor decision-making skills are more likely; so stand on the rock that will not shift or crumble. To trust in other people may risk destruction and disappointment (vv. 14-15). It is a sad fact that some people find joy in our failure and hurt. When depression comes, some may use it as an opportunity to ruin us. The devil also seeks to devour those who love and pursue God (I Peter 5: 8), so be on the alert and take care regarding who you place your trust in. Hope in God.