Bringing the Text to Life
Centuries ago, the author of Psalm 42 observed his own state of being and asked, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?” He was talking about depression and anxiety, something anybody who has lived very long has experienced. But then the psalmist added, “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help.”
Notice the word again. In other words, the psalmist recognized the cyclical nature of emotions and declared that if he continued to trust God, his low feelings of the moment would eventually take an upturn. It’s a similar observation made in the line from the old African-American spiritual: “Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down.”
Many of us who have been around the block a few times have made a similar discovery. We’ve noticed that our moods and our sense of well-being cycle as well. (We’re not talking about clinical depression but about the ups and downs that the events of life bring us.) And noticing that cyclical nature of emotions is useful,...