Throughout Psalm 42 and 43, the psalmist says that the answer to emotional depression is hope. Three times he encouraged himself to "hope in God" (42:5, 42:11, and 43:5).

In the same way that love is an action word and not a passive one, hope is not just some vague feeling. The more specifically we can define or describe our hope, the better we can recognize it when our hope is fulfilled. The psalmist listed his hopes in the first four verses of Psalm 43. Like the psalmist, we place our hope in:

God's Power to Deliver (Psalm 43:1). This is the psalmist's cry: "Justify me, defend and support me." In Psalm 42, his prayer was descriptive rather than a plea. In Psalm 43, the psalmist changed his prayer to a petition, urging God, "Lord, do something!" We are praying, "Father, show us that our faith is based on substance." The Lord will remind us of His faithfulness in the past and assure us that He is continuing to walk with us during our difficult situation.

God's Presence and Protection (Psalm 43:2). Why should we mourn when God is our strength and our stronghold? The truth of God is a fortress, a command post built on a rock. In the swirling tides of relativism and permissiveness, and with the destruction of moral values, the fortress of truth remains steadfast. Some day, God will crush all His enemies under this fortress.

God' Direction (Psalm 43:3). God gives light in the darkness. While under the cloud of depression, it is easy to make wrong decisions. Knowing that, the psalmist asked for more than just a change in circumstances. Scripture says that the Word of God is a light (Psalm 19:8; 119:105; 119:130; Proverbs 6:23; 2 Peter 1:19). The Word gives us the answers that we need.

God as Our Joy (Psalm 43:4). If we seek joy from our feelings or from comfortable circumstances, then we will be constantly disappointed. If we find joy in the Lord and in His Word, then we will experience hope even in hopeless situations.

Without hope, the Christian life is meaningless. Hope, however, is abundant for the Christian. It is essential that we focus our hope not on the counterfeit substitutes the world offers, but on Christ — as only a Christian can do. Our hope is firm!


Excerpted from My Journal, a monthly devotional magazine from Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef.

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