In Times of Suffering

This song of celebration, Psalm 149, is like a rallying cry, urging all of God’s people to praise the Lord regardless of their circumstances. That includes times when people aren’t naturally inclined to boast on God. Praise the Lord in Times of Suffering: For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation. Let the godly ones exult in glory; Let them sing for joy on their beds.

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Confessing Despair

In David’s dark song of depression, recorded as Psalm 142, the king confesses his deepest feelings of isolation and despair. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path. In the way where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. (142:3) David feels enveloped or wrapped up in his depression, so much so his spirit feels faint and feeble.

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Opening to God

The raw emotion of David’s prayer in Psalm 142 comes through clearly in his choice of words. In his Cave of Adullam, the beleaguered future king struggled with depression and shrieked heavenward. I used to wonder why we ever needed to utter words in prayer since God already knows all our thoughts (Psalm 139:4). Then one day I stumbled across Hosea 14:1–2.

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An Abysmal Cave

Who hasn’t struggled with those demoralizing seasons of dark sadness? Everyone suffers from grief and sorrow from time to time. But depression is a different matter. Like a disease, it’s very common, but it’s not “normal.” Depression is an extended state of mind characterized by acute sadness that most likely will not go away by itself. It needs attention.

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Nothing Escapes God’s Care

David’s song about God paid close attention to His design of the human body and the individual care He gives to each conception. No individual life escapes His care, and He endows each person with a purpose. Psalm 139 carries David to the crest of ecstasy as he exclaims, How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You. (139:17–18)

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God’s Intimate Knowledge

If you’ve ever been a part of a large organization, such as a multibillion-dollar corporation or a governmental agency or a university, it’s unlikely you’ve ever met the people at the top of the leadership chain. You may have heard their names or read their announcements, but you probably didn’t know them personally. And they undoubtedly wouldn’t have known you from any other person in the organization.

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Important to God

Most folks struggle with feelings of insignificance from time to time. Larger-than-life athletes, greatly gifted film and television stars, brilliant students, accomplished singers, skillful writers, even capable ministers can leave us feeling intimidated, overlooked, and underqualified. For some, feeling insignificant is not simply a periodic battle; it is a daily grind!

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Turning to God

The composer of Psalm 137 acknowledged the sorrow of his situation, recognizing that Judah had brought this chastisement upon themselves. But he didn’t stay in the doldrums. He turned from the past to focus on God’s unchangeable character, His faithfulness to fulfill promises, His desire to extend mercy with every opportunity. Finally, he turned his eyes to the horizon to anticipate the future.

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God’s Word the Cure

As I glance over Psalm 119:98–100, I see three benefits gained by those who absorb the Word: wisdom, insight, and understanding. Wisdom is the ability to look at life and its difficulties from God’s point of view. As I learn more of the Word of God and begin to get a grasp of its practical principles, I also gain the ability to look at life from a heavenly, eternal viewpoint.

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Hope for the Hopeless

I am not foolish enough to suggest that within a week’s time anyone could be free of an addiction or compulsion. While a few people tell of overnight transformations, these are the exception, not the norm. Still, let me assure you that, within just a week, you can be moving in a new, healthy direction. No addiction—I repeat: no addiction—is stronger than the Almighty.

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