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By: Denise Pass  © 5/26/14

Psalm 43:4-5

“Then I will go to the altar of God, to the God Who gives me ecstatic joy, so that I express my thanks to you, O God, my God, with a harp. Why are you depressed, O my soul? Why are you upset? Wait for God! For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention.”

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Depression is fast becoming one of the top complaints of humankind. Sometimes it is momentary, passing with circumstances, but other times it is a condition that is seemingly impossible to overcome. I’ve been there. Suffering with long-term illness, living with the horror of a stigma so painfully hard to accept the reality of, chased endlessly in court, so anxious I could not feel my hands or feet – but God. He was and is my refuge. Engulfed in fear or a sea of sad emotions, overcoming melancholic feelings can seem insurmountable. David understands. Anointed king and then oppressed by his enemy for 15 years, hiding in caves, he was acquainted with suffering and depression. But he did not stay there. He did not give in to the emotions which sought to control him. David found ecstatic joy in God because God was his joy. It was not just a fleeting emotional gratification that he was seeking – it was God Himself – to be lost in worshipping something – someOne – greater than himself or his circumstances. Repeatedly David models this running to God. He knew what he was made for – to worship His creator – and he was a man after God’s own heart. This life was never meant to be our joy, but disappointment and unmet expectations leave us hungering for relief from our misery. But what if at that place we hungered for God and worshiped Him, even if our pain was still present? What if we did not look to anything else for joy but God alone? Perhaps it would produce in us the gratitude that David embodied. Thankfulness for anything good in this wretched fallen world. Thank Him, today. Even for that ugly thing that breaks your heart. Thank Him that He knows the end and is sovereign. He will use it for good in your life. Thank Him for His promises. He keeps them all. Extreme hardship and grief can create a disillusionment that seemingly destroys our hope, but our living Savior bears our burdens and sorrows and is able to grant us perfect peace in the midst of desolation and despair.

Dear God, You are our joy, our very life! All else that we experience in this life is for your glory. Please help us to have eternal eyes to see and understand that we need to run after you and not after joy.

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