How long must I be anxious in my soul,
having sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
Do you ever just get into a streak of bad days? Nothing terrible necessarily happening, you just feel really down in the dumps, like the weight of the world rests on your soul? Maybe you just become acutely conscious of less-than-wonderful world events or brush up against something that awakens your innermost doubts and insecurities. I know I tend to hit that mean streak of bad days in the fall months; call it seasonal depression or what-have-you, but I can almost always count on getting a rough week in there where all I can see is the weight, the things that bring anxiety and sorrow, where it feels like evil is triumphing and I’m powerless against it.
I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one.
Sometimes seasons like these drive people to dream of the “good old days”, imagining a time before our problems were the problems. We think how much more peaceful life must’ve been when people didn’t deal with this struggle or that weight—whatever’s dragging us down. We picture a world that seems so much simpler, devoid of those conflicts we ourselves dread. But a simple glance at the lives of our forefathers and mothers in the faith shows that’s not the case by any stretch of the imagination. No, there’s been persecution, suffering, malfeasance, struggle and hardship as long as there’s been sin in the world. Many have faced things we, thankfully, have not, such as burning at the stake, crucifixion, arena battles and more.
Just a glimpse at the Psalm above shows that mankind is no stranger in any era to the weight and woe of anxiety, sorrow, and losing heart. So if the problems have always been there, what’s the solution? Is there one?
Our forefather the Psalmist paints a picture of that, too; the prominent step is, and always will be, to cry out to God! Even in Psalm 13, which begins with expressing feelings of abandonment by Yahweh, the message ends with trust in His faithfulness and singing praises to Him. When we pour our hearts out to God and choose to praise Him in the storm, often that act alone—not necessarily easy, but simple!—can change our outlook. We begin to focus on the light rather than the darkness. The weight lifts as we give up our burdens and surrender our struggles to the One better equipped to carry them.
Sorrow and anxiety and the problem of evil are such heavy subjects…ones we can only do so much about in our human strength. When we begin to feel buried under that weight, let’s not dwell in them forever, trying to adjust to shoulder it alone; instead, let’s cry out to God and cast those cares on Him. Let’s turn our mourning to singing and our pain to praise. Like the psalmist, let’s instead declare God’s goodness and rejoice in His deliverance.
Because it is coming. The joy will come with the morning, and He will lift us up once more!