We often think of Psalm 23 as a perfect example of prayer. Then we may quote the “Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6:9-13, but we must realize Jesus meant this for an outline; not as a vain repetition. However, another example of a deep prayer is Psalm 102. In this, we can feel the true emotions of the psalmist. The writer expresses some of our very feelings in times of great distress. If you’ve lived long enough you’ve had times like this.
Depression has soared in our society in the past decade. While watching a news story the other night, it told of the alarming suicide rate amongst our teenagers. In a classroom of about 30 children, they asked who had a friend who had contemplated suicide. Everyone in the room raised their hand. At their age, I never heard of suicide. Sure it took place, but wasn’t common. I couldn’t help thinking of a correlation; that being, the rate has steadily increased since God has been removed from public schools. The whole story was about a formation of a suicide prevention group, within schools, that is growing in popularity. I’m all for plans to help the despondent, but as the old saying goes, we are looking for solutions in the wrong places.
The symptoms of depression are exhibited precisely in Psalm 102. Things such as anhedonia (vs. 3), overwhelming grief and loss of appetite (vs. 4), weight loss (vs.5), hopelessness (vs. 6, 11), isolation (vs. 7) and much crying (vs. 9). Certainly not an exhaustive list, but if chronic, enough for a diagnosis of Major Depression. It’s an all too common malady today. All of us know someone, or we are the one, that is afflicted.
Sad to say, most folk don’t do as the Psalmist and turn to God. The aforementioned school developed this program based entirely on human wisdom. It may help (and I sincerely hope so), but at best it is only a band-aid. Only God can offer hope in a hopeless world. Anything man offers will be like the “grass that withereth” (vs.11). The Psalmist says, “Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee” (vs.1). This is the first step in the right direction. “For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death” (vs. 19-20). We must remember God is all knowing and “Father knows best”.
There are many so-called cures, advice and medications on the market today, but the root of this problem is a world of no hope. Simply put-people need the Lord. Take it from someone who’s been there. Apart from a personal relationship with Jesus there is no hope. “…Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Be honest. Without it what hope do you have?