Psalm 42: 4 Things to Do when Your Heart is Downcast

How are you feeling today? Have you ever just had a time where your heart was full of fear, distress, or worry?

King David had this happen, too, and you’re not alone– 18.1% of people in the United States alone suffer from anxiety and depression (which is 40 million adults a year!). This is a real illness and disease, and people everywhere are trying to get rid of it. 

In many cases, medications are needed– but one must encourage and help the soul, too. In light of this, I thought it’d be helpful to share some of Psalm 42 with you– it’s a chapter that I think we can pull a lot out of. 

“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. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.”
(Psalm 42:5-7, NIV)


Here are some comforting takeaways we can get from this passage:


  1. Self-talk matters. I’m not talking about the kind of self-care that keeps you #1, but the way we speak to ourselves is important. In his distress, David encouraged himself in the Lord, saying, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?”.
  2. David was determined to worship. In his darkness, he says, “I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” In our dark moments, praising and worshipping Christ may seem like the last thing we want to do; but in reality, it lifts up our gaze to Jesus and off of our situations. 
  3. Remembering what God has already done. David recalls [God] from the land of the Jordan and the heights of Hermon. He recalls that this is not God’s first rodeo! He did powerful things in the past, and is still just as faithful today.
  4. During this time, God’s Spirit called out to David’s Spirit in worship. “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls” sounds kind of confusing (or at least it was for me). But, I quickly found out that it is about God’s Spirit calling out to David, to come closer to him in spirit as well.
    There is one difference between then and now: David did not have the Holy Spirit living inside of Him, whereas all who believe in and follow Christ have the Holy Spirit living inside of them, as a “guarantee” (2 Corinthians 1:22).Because of this, we can commune with God whenever, wherever. Bradenton Herald comments, “[We are given] A deeper relationship with Him through the shed blood of Jesus Christ that gives us the perpetual right of entry into ‘The Most Holy Place;’ God’s glorious presence!”


It is in times like this, where we are tired, scared, and in distress, that we can encourage ourselves by reminding ourselves of God’s faithfulness, and call out to Him in worship. You are His Precious Child, and He Loves you! May these insights give you the comfort and encouragement you need to keep on keepin’ on, relying upon and resting in Jesus to get you through.

Do you know Jesus?

Jesus knows EXACTLY what you’re going through. Not only this, but He Loves you! See how He was completely human, and proved His Love for you, here.


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