Encourage Your Soul

Some weeks ago, I was asked to lead worship at our church. The song I chose to begin the praise time was a tune set to the words of Psalms 42:5, “Why so downcast oh my soul? Put your hope in God and bless the Lord oh my soul.”

As I looked at the context of this verse in the Bible, it dawned on me that David was actually talking to his own soul. His circumstances were far from perfect. He was facing adversity and he simply did not feel like praising God, so he had to tell himself to bless the Lord. I believe this is why God calls it “a sacrifice of praise.”  Our flesh may not feel like praising Him, but when we start, something good happens in our spirit.  Praising God takes our eyes off our own problems and focuses them on Him. God says he inhabits the praises of His people and where His presence is, there too is His power.

I can relate to King David in some ways. Recently our circumstances have been difficult. This Scripture has encouraged me to overcome the despair I would normally feel while focusing on the negatives of our situation. Although sometimes it has been the last thing I have felt like doing, I have begun praising God and the despair has lifted.

Ephesians 5:2 tells us to “Give thanks always for all things.” I don’t believe God inspired this Scripture for His own benefit, but for ours. God knows that giving thanks will set us on a path to positivity. The Bible is very practical. One day, in particular, our financial situation seemed hopeless. I felt myself being drawn into a depression of gloom. It almost felt good to wallow in the hopelessness of it all. But then I was reminded of this Scripture, and began to list the things I had to be thankful to the Lord for. By the end of the list I was uplifted. I knew God would see us through like He always had, and I couldn’t help but sing praises to Him.

I love the Scripture in the Psalm 61:2 that says, “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Left to ourselves we have only despair, but God is always ready to fill us with hope.

I have never suffered with major depression, but I have been inclined to get down and gloomy. As women, I think many of us are prone to this. God has a remedy for it, but it’s an active remedy. We have to lift our voices and spirits to Him in praise and He will lift us up. 

There is an epidemic of depression in our society. Prozac is the chosen symptom duller for so many and it is even rampant in the church. I know there are serious cases where medication is important, but I also know God’s principles and promises make for total healing. Often, medication is sought to alleviate the way we feel. To me this is like putting a Band-Aid on cancer. God wants to get to the root of the problem and heal it, whether it is discontentment, a negative attitude, complacency in our walk, or simply relying on things and people to fill us up. 

We may not always feel happy, but the Lord will give us joy. Sometimes our days may be chaotic, but we can know peace. We may not know wealth, but we can have a richness of spirit.

Nancy Campbell

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