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.
Psalm 42:11 (NIV)
When I was young I confess being amused when I saw an elderly person walking along and talking out loud to themselves. It seemed funny rather than sad to see a person carrying on a conversation out loud with no one to listen to them.
Having more maturity I no longer regard such behaviour as amusing. Instead I feel concern on the one hand for the individual who does this. In our society there is an unspoken rule that you keep your thoughts to yourself when alone in public. You do not talk to yourself out loud.
However, there is also something very healthy about having a discussion with yourself at times. This was the case with the Psalmist as he talked with himself in our verse today.
In asking himself some questions he is making statements of fact. His problem is the attitude of depression or being “downcast” and also a sense of agitation or being “disturbed” at the issues that face him. His emotions have the best of him and they rule his thoughts.
Honestly facing up to the feelings within us is the first step toward a remedy. So many Christians put a smile on their faces and try to ignore their feelings in times of trial. This is not the best way to handle our emotions.
The Psalmist then gives himself advice when he said to put his trust in God. We all will get “downcast” and “disturbed” if our faith is in ourselves. We are insufficient for all life can throw at us. We need supernatural help to keep our heads above water sometimes.
So the way the Psalmist talked to himself was healthy mental activity. It was necessary for him to ask those questions and then give the appropriate response. So it is with us at times.
We need to recognize that life gets the best of us even as children of God and we must look to our Father in heaven for the necessary wisdom, strength and hope to carry us through the present difficulties.
In and of ourselves we are hopeless. But as we trust in the Lord there is every reason for hope and strength to face anything life offers.
Take a few moments today and talk to yourself and see if you have misplaced your confidence. You can never have too much confidence in the Lord nor can you have too little confidence in yourself. Trust in the Lord and your complaint will turn to praise.