There are times in our lives when we feel totally downcast, when we are surrounded by sadness, despair and hopelessness. In such situations, we have two options. We may either engage in a losing argument with God like Job, or talk it over with our own self like David. In the Book of Psalms, we find two records of David’s internal dialogues with his soul, one when he is in deep distress (Psalms 42-43) and the other when he abounds in everything (Psalm 103).
David asks his soul, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” and then comforts his soul saying, “Put your hope in God”. The question is asked thrice and each time, David comes up with the same solace for his downcast soul. (Psalm 42:5, 42:11, 43:5)
David’s hope while being in hopeless circumstances comes from his experience. He reminds his soul of what all God has done for him in the past. It is God “who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.” (Psalm 103:3-6)
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” (Psalm 103:8-13)
David’s counsel to his depressed soul is to cheer up: “Bless the Lord, O my soul! And all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul! And forget not all his benefits.” (Psalm 103:1-2)