Psalm 77 was written by Asaph, a chief musician of David. He wrote some of the Psalms, many of which are sub-titled “for the Choir Director.” So Asaph was a song writer, penning words that people of his day would relate to.
It’s interesting to find out that people thousands of years ago struggled with the same feelings we have today.
Psalm 77 starts out with a litany of complaints in verses 1-6.
- I’m crying out loud
- I’m actually yelling to get God’s attention
- I can’t sleep
- I find no comfort whatsoever
- I’m disturbed to just think about God
- I can’t stop sighing
- I feel weak
- My eyelids are stuck open
- I’m so troubled I cannot even speak
- All I can think about is the good old days that are gone, gone, gone
- I can’t get anything done because I’m wrapped up in my thoughts
The words used in this section reveal someone who is desperate with emotional pain, unable to sleep or speak, someone who lies awake at night dwelling in misery. He could be suffering from depression or anxiety.
Have you been there? I have. I used to wonder if I would ever sleep all night again. It seemed as if the thoughts would circle around and around in my head whenever I hit the pillow. I tried everything; reading, praying, eating, watching really bad movies on TV. Finally I would fall asleep and be dead to the world just as the alarm clock rang.
It’s easy to slip down into a pitty party when we’re sad. The cause might have been a little thing, but in our minds we blow it all out of proportion. Sometimes we add the current problem to the heap of past problems and our mountain of misery grows bigger. Sometimes the cause of our sadness is a huge thing, we haven’t exaggerated it at all. Regardless of the cause of our sadness we are apt to believe lies about God when we feel down or depressed.
Verses 7-10 of Psalm 77 reveal the thought process of our sufferer. He states these thoughts as questions, revealing his hidden beliefs.
Lie 1: No Acceptance
The first question Asaph asks is “Will the Lord reject forever?” (Psalm 77:7a NIV). When we feel rejected by someone in a relationship it feels horrible. Geraldine Downey, Ph.D says rejection feels terrible because “it communicates the sense to somebody that they’re not loved or not wanted, or not in some way valued.”
Rejection is catchy. When we’ve been rejected by someone we often start to believe the lie that we are worthless. We can start to reject ourselves. This makes us angry. Guy Winch, Ph.D., writes that someone else’s rejection causes only 50 percent of the problem. We do the other 50 percent. “We start with this high volume of negative self-talk and criticism that takes the rejection to another level.”
If we are feeling rejected by someone we’re in relationship with, why do we go down the path of thinking God has rejected us? God doesn’t reject us at all. If you are reading this post, you haven’t been rejected because as far as I know there are no dead people reading my blog. It is a lie that God rejects us. Don’t believe it! In my next blog post I will share the 6 Truths that can Reverse Sad.
Lie 2: No Favor
Question 2 states “Will he never show his favor again?” (Psalm 77:7b NIV). Favor is preference, kindness, helpfulness, approval, support or popularity. These are great things. When we lack them we get sad. We naturally want to have support and approval of people. When we lose popularity and kindness from others, we feel insecure.
Everyone has a basic need to feel approved of. When we feel approval it satisfies a deep inner need to feel secure with ourselves as a person. When we feel good about who we are we have a deep sense of peace.
When someone disapproves of us, we can begin to believe the lie that we don’t deserve approval or favor. We can deflate into low self-esteem. We begin to internalize this lie and doubt our personal worth.
Even if people disapprove of us, we have infinite value to God. He approves of us because we are His creation. When we feel a lack of favor from people, that doesn’t necessarily mean we lack favor from God. That’s a lie! In my next post I will share 6 Truths that can Reverse Sad. Stay tuned!
Lie 3: No Love
The third question Asaph asked was “Has his unfailing love vanished forever?” (Psalm 77:8a NIV). Feeling unloved is a lonely feeling. Researchers say loneliness and feeling unloved is twice as likely to kill you as being obese. In addition, feeling cut off from others can create high blood pressure problems, weakened immune systems, depression, and disrupted sleep.
It’s a horrible thing to feel as if you’re all alone. People will fail us and make us feel unloved and alone. But God never will. Don’t believe the lie that you have no love from God! His love isn’t like the love of people, who are selfish and needy. If you feel unloved by someone, rest assured God still does love you. In my next post I will share more on this topic
Lie 4: No Promises
Asaph next asks “Has his promise failed for all time?” (Psalm 77:8b NIV). Broken promises hurt because our hopes are dashed. Someone promises us they will always be there, and then they walk away and we feel we were lied to. Lies are hard to take when they come from someone we believed in.
Broken promises break our hearts. We become disillusioned and distrust the other person. A pie crust promise is known as one “easily made, easily broken.” Some people are experts at pie crust promises.
People will disappoint us by breaking promises and we can become untrusting of anyone at all. Even God. It is a lie that God breaks promises. Only people do, don’t let your mind go there. In my next post I will share 6 Truths that can Reverse Sad.
Lie 5: No Mercy
“Has God forgotten to be merciful?” (Psalm 77:9b NIV). The next lie we are likely to believe when we are sad is that God is not merciful. Mercy is getting away with something, it’s not getting what we really deserve. We all want mercy, right?
When we fail others and ask for forgiveness, sometimes they won’t forgive us. Have you been there? We think we’ve apologized and said sorry, and can’t figure out why the other person won’t show a little mercy and get over it. People have their own agendas, and sometimes they are not able to forgive.
But God is always ready to forgive, no matter what. Just because you haven’t been forgiven by someone else, don’t believe the lie that God has forgotten to be merciful. In my next post I will share more on this topic in 6 Truths that can Reverse Sad.
Lie 6: No Compassion
The last lie we are likely to believe when we’re sad is posed in a question. “Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” (Psalm 77:9b NIV). Compassion is the feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, or hungry or in some kind of trouble not of their own doing. Compassion is sympathy as well as a desire to do something to help.
Those who struggle with major life problems can end up feeling there is no compassion in the world today. I think of homeless people who sit on a cold sidewalk all day long begging. How many times have I walked by not noticing their distress?
There are many reasons people can be uncaring and unfeeling. Busyness, ignorance, and our own problems crowd out our desire to help others. But God is always ready to show compassion. Don’t believe the lie that God is not compassionate every single day. In my next post I will expand on this theme.
Which one of these lies are you most likely to believe? What person or situation brought you to that conclusion? Can you separate their failure from God’s faithfulness? Can you hold onto the truth that God is the source of unending acceptance, favor, love, promises, mercy and compassion?
I hate to leave you in the lurch, but there is so much to be said on this topic. So I will break it into 3 posts. My next post will encourage with “6 Truths that can Reverse Sad.” And the final post of the series will be “4 Decisions to Depression-Proof my Life.”
…because U count, deb