by Shayla Asselin
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
Twenty-three days ago people all across the country celebrated a fresh start. There was almost this tangible hope that could be felt in the idea of a fresh start. And while many people eagerly anticipated the new year and the surprises and hope it brings, other people entered 2020 with same old problems that 2019 and maybe even the years before that had given them. It may be a new year, but the same diagnosis, financial issues, marriage troubles, loneliness, and uncertainty suffocated their hope.
In 1965, psychologist Martin Seligman recognized this pattern of learned helplessness. He discovered that when animals are placed in difficult situations outside of their control they become passive and stop trying to escape. This same mentality can be found in humans. When people experience persistent trials and devastating defeats, a mentality of hopelessness sets in.
Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. Nothing changes. Your heart mourns the loss of hope. You want to be excited for the new year but are afraid that it will be just like the last. No healing. No restoration. No deliverance. No breakthrough.
In Psalm 42, David experienced this same hopelessness. He felt abandoned by God and alone. There was nothing more he could do. He had prayed every prayer he knew to pray. He had no tears left to cry. He was out of options. The empty ache of heartbreak had crushed him and he found himself in a pit of hopelessness.
I think if we’re honest, we’ve all been there before. Begging for deliverance or at least a better understanding of why we’re going through this and when it’s going to end. But even though we may not be able to understand why we have to go through things and when it will be over, we do have a choice. We can choose whether or not we decide to fall into the pattern of learned hopelessness or place our faith in God.
David makes his decision and concludes chapter 42 with these words from verse 11, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
No matter what you are going through right now, I pray that you find the strength to remind your soul to hope in God. He alone is our hope and strength. Rest in His refuge.
We can have hope because we know His character. He will never leave us. He will never forsake us. Remember, God is working even when nothing is changing.