TEXT: Psalm 13
TITLE: Trust, Rejoice, and Sing
THESIS: …. Trust, rejoice, and sing because of God’s love and goodness for us.
- It was spring 1985. I came through the back door into ministry and had been a pastor for 15 years by then, but I was just completing my seminary degree at Princeton. My family was in KS … I had been seriously depressed for 6 weeks … I had a “practice” sermon to preach in class and chose Psalm 13.
- In my reading of it and preparation for preaching, my depression “broke.” Let me describe it as we look at the psalm.
- Depression often comes from a loss of hope. That winter and early spring of 1985 was a tough time. Even though I was about to graduate from Princeton Seminary, I worried about the future. Separated from family, working way too hard, wondering where I could get a job as a minister and if it would be where my family wanted to go – tired, exhausted, lonely – depression settled hard in my whole being.
- How long, Lord? How long will you hide your face from me? – At times like these, most of us have doubts. We doubt ourselves – and other people – and even God. We may feel like God has abandoned us or even wonder if God is real after all.
- How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and have sorrow in my heart? – Anxiety has always been part of life for me. And depression and anxiety often work together in a toxic mix to bring a deep darkness and loss of hope to life.
- How long will my enemy triumph over me? – Everything seemed to be working against me in the midst of this depression. Anxiety, depression, fear, exhaustion, despair – these were my enemies that seemed to threaten my life.
But I trust, rejoice, and sing – One day those two verses opened the curtain for me – like throwing open the curtains of a huge window looking out into a gorgeous, sunlit day.
- 5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.
- In these four months of isolation – staying home, staying away from family, keeping our physical distance from everyone (especially for people who live alone) – in this isolation, depression and sadness has been a common experience.
- People with an addiction have too often returned to that behavior. People who have lost a loved one have felt the loss and emptiness even more sharply. People who live alone have sometimes wondered if they would ever get out with people and get the hugs and simple presence of other people they crave.
- People feel deep anxiety and dark depression for any number of reasons. And times of feeling isolated for any reason– especially when it goes on for months – can strengthen the grip of that darkness and shut out the light to us. …. That’s what happened to me in 1985.
- One way “through” it is the path I found in Psalm 13. … I realized that even when faced with my enemies of anxiety and depression, and even when feeling abandoned or cut off from God as well as other people and my hoped-for future – even then – perhaps especially then – I learned to see the word But … Even so, in the midst of it all…
- I will trust in your unfailing love (what else do I have?)
- My heart will rejoice in your salvation (in the freedom, healing, justice, and life you have given us)
- I will sing the Lord’s praise, for God has been good to me.
- This path is not the only one, and it may not be the one you need today. It was my way through it all then. I invite you to explore the path for a little way and see where it leads. … Even in the presence of our enemies and in the darkness of our depression …. Trust, rejoice, and sing because of God’s love and goodness for us.