Are You Downcast?

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“As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
“Where is your God?”

When I remember these things,
I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go with the multitude;
I went with them to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and praise,
With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance.

O my God, my soul is cast down within me;
Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan,
And from the heights of Hermon,
From the Hill Mizar.
Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life.

I will say to God my Rock,
“Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a breaking of my bones,
My enemies reproach me,
While they say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.” Psalm 42

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”” John 16:33

Have you ever felt downcast? Down cast? Cast down? Just plain old down? In the doldrums? Sad. Blue. Depressed. Discouraged. Not feeling too hopeful. Or hopeful at all. Maybe even hopeless. Or just gray. Like the sky. Like you can’t get the clouds moved away from over you. Under a dark cloud. Or a gray one anyway. Can’t find the sunshine. Or maybe not enough of it. In a full-blown depression. Or just feeling morose. Melancholy. Not bright. A little dark. Or oh so dark. As I write, I think, wow, those words just poured out of me, and I’ve been in all of those places. Even now, as I write, I don’t feel all too excited. Like I’m a little blue. A little under the weather. Like depression is tugging at me, nagging at me, trying to lure me back into its ugliness. And, as much as I refuse to go back, into its bleak darkness, I think of this. When we’re downcast, what do we do? What should we do? How do we press on? Look at the psalm above. See what the psalmist did. See what we can do. Look at the very words. Maybe your situation isn’t just like his. But if you’re downcast, or have ever been, or will one day be there, think about this.

The psalmist begins by describing an amazing passion, and hunger, a thirst, that simply must be quenched, for God. He gives the answer before he even states the problem.

Then he describes his trouble. What makes him sad. What makes him downcast. Have you ever considered the word downcast? Down cast. Cast down. Looking downward. This earth, which is downward from the sky, from heaven, from where the Lord Jesus Christ sits on the right hand of God before His return, is filled with circumstances that can make anyone downcast when you think about it, right? Trials and tribulations abound on this earth thanks to the sins of humanity, right?

What does the psalmist do? He REMEMBERS to look to the Lord! Just as in the beginning verses he describes his yearning for God, and just as he asks himself how he can be downcast, he now reveals the answer he has found. The answer we all have if we choose to look. Yes, to look.

He changes his focus! He reminds himself THE ANSWER IS THE LORD! He looks UPWARD TO GOD! He knows his hope is in the Lord! He knows his hope IS the Lord! Does he say all his troubles are gone? That he’ll never face challenges again? Or even that these current challenges are over? NO! What he says is THAT HIS HOPE IS IN GOD, and that HE WILL PRAISE THE LORD!

Jesus said we WILL have tribulations on this earth, but that we can “be of good cheer” because of Him, because He has overcome this world!

Even in our darkest moments, and our greatest trials, we can shift our focus and remember that for those of us who have turned away from a lifestyle of sin and believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for us and was raised from the dead, who have truly committed our lives to God and His ways, who have been forgiven and promised an everlasting relationship with God, we can choose to turn our stare away from our troubles and turn our gaze upward to the Lord God almighty through Christ and rejoice that JESUS WILL REIGN FOREVER. That our hope is IN HIM! That our trust must be IN HIM! That God will lead us forth! That He has the strength we need! That He is to be our light even in the darkest of times! That we have forever fellowship with THE LORD JESUS CHRIST! That we will one day be in a place with no tears, and no pain, forever. And that until then, even when there are tears, and there is pain, JESUS CHRIST IS HERE WITH US, God’s HOLY SPIRIT LIVES INSIDE US, and Jesus is our FOREVER LOVE and our FOREVER LIGHT, oh, glory be to God! Rejoice!

When we find ourselves downcast, let’s turn our focus to the Lord, our forever love! Our forever light! In whose company His followers will forever be, oh, hallelujah!

Turn your focus! Turn your gaze! Look to the Lord, look to Him, look to the Lord! Amen!

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