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.
The psalmist repeated this verse three times in Psalms 42 and 43. He was fighting his own downcast soul and told it, “Put your hope in God.”
I’ve had to do that many times. Psalms 42 and 43 contain good advice on how to battle depression. I’ve used those tools and I know from personal experience that they work.
But what if I don’t have any hope to put in God? What if my mind is so clouded and dark that I can’t see any way out?
God knew there would be times when we lose all hope, so He provided ways for us to find hope in His Word.
I Can Ask the Holy Spirit
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul was praying for the Romans and asking God to give them joy and peace. If they already had it, he wouldn’t need to ask God to give it to them. So Paul knows – and God knows – that there will be times when we don’t have the joy and peace we need. And joy and peace are what the Holy Spirit uses to release hope.
He is the God of hope, and when I got saved, He put His Holy Spirit in me. Therefore, I have the source of hope inside my heart, whether I feel it or not.
I don’t have to manufacture hope by myself. I don’t have to give myself motivational speeches to build up my hope. The Holy Spirit will produce the hope that I need.
When I have no hope, I can pray and ask God to give me joy and peace and trust that He will. And I know that God is true to His Word, so I know that the Holy Spirit will fill my heart with hope.
I Can Trust God’s Plan
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah wrote this to the Israelites who were exiled in Babylon. They were slaves, but His grace and mercy were always there, protecting them where they were and preparing things in the background to eventually free them from slavery.
When I’m stuck in the pit of despair, consumed by depression that I can’t break, I can lean on God because He’s right there with me. He’s sitting beside me at the bottom of the pit. Even though I can’t see Him because it’s so dark, He’s holding my hand. And He’s telling me about the future He has planned for me.
God isn’t pushing me to get out there and make it happen. He’s telling me to rest in Him, and let Him take care of everything else.
When I have no hope, I can just sit and hold God’s hand. He’ll take care of the world around me and He will give me the hope that I need to keep going.
I Can Remember God’s Love
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
The book of Lamentations is a funeral song for the death of a nation. Jeremiah was mourning because he lost so much.
In the middle of his pain, he remembered God’s love.
Lamentations 3:19-23 (NLT)
The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.
I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
God loves me. God loves you. If we have received Jesus as our Savior, then His mercy is always working for us.
I don’t have to just cross my fingers and wish God would help me. I can read His Word and know that He loves me and cares for me and that He’s constantly working in my life. Every day, He’s there with another supply of grace and mercy to help me through.
How has God given you hope when you had none of your own?
Photo credit: wilhei