There’s a familiar scene in the Peanuts cartoon where Lucy is holding a football for Charlie to kick it farther and higher than anyone in the world.
In this oft-repeated situation, Lucy pulls the ball away at the last second just as Charlie is about to kick it.
Charlie lands flat on his back. Looks up at Lucy and asks, “Why do I always fall for the same old trick?”
“Because you’re a loser, Charlie Brown,” Lucy responds.
Do you ever feel like Charlie Brown? Everything seems out of your control. Nothing is going right. Even your dog is telling you what to do.
Some folks imply or even say that if you’re a Christian you should never become dispirited. In fact, one old-time hymn says, “We should never be discouraged.”
The truth is Christians can and do become discouraged. Disheartened. Dismayed. And even depressed.
“O my God, my soul is cast down within me” (42:6).
“I will say to God my Rock, ‘Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?’” (42:9).
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?” (42:11)
“Vindicate me, O God, And plead my cause against an ungodly nation; Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man! For You are the God of my strength; Why do You cast me off? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” (43:1-2).
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?” (Ps, 43:5).
When we look at the state of the world today, it’s easy to be disquieted and feel cast down. Lawlessness. Wickedness. Perversion. Rebellion. War. Murder. Chaos. All of these are either seen personally or are images flashed before us on the evening news.
Add to that our personal trials and Satan’s temptations. Family disputes. Financial setbacks. Job stress. Ruptured relationships. Marital discord. And various other tribulations can leave our souls feeling disquieted. Troubled. And anxious.
What are we to do in the midst of such emotional turmoil?
The Psalmist offers some insights. (Hint: Read Psalms 42 & 43)
#1 Seek after God like a deer pants for water. Acknowledge your need for God. Satiate your parched soul with His refreshing “water of life.” Pursue communion and connection with Him.
#2 Be honest with God about your feelings. He already knows. So, there’s no use in hiding it, or pretending like all is well. Take your troubles to His throne of grace. Pour out your heart to him. Be transparent.
#3 Remember God’s past provisions in your life. His loving-kindness. His mercy. His grace. His goodness. His blessings. His protection. His providence. And His care for you.
#4 “Go to the altar of God.” In other words, worship God. Too often we neglect worship when we’re cast down. That’s when we need more than ever to go “to the house of God. Worship will renew your spirit. Revive your soul. Restore your joy. And refresh your outlook on life.
#5 Hope in God. Ultimately, God is our one and only hope. The hope for a better life and brighter future is not found in societal reform, cultural change, or political policies. Our hope is spiritually focused and eternally anchored. It transcends this world’s problems.
Is your soul disquieted? Do you feel cast down? Are you heavy-hearted?
Go to God’s “holy hill.” Seek His help. Trust His promises. Praise His name. And rediscover the joy of your salvation.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman