Feeling down? Tell God
How are you feeling today? Be honest with yourself. Do you feel down? Is it the stress of too much work, no work, or missing seeing friends or family in the flesh, missing those hugs, or worries like “How will I pay my bills?” or “What about my A-levels?”, or big-picture questions like “When will all this be over?” Maybe what hits you hardest is the thought of losing loved ones, feeling it’s you who’s vulnerable.
Feeling down isn’t weird. It’s normal.
So, what can we do? Try going to the Old Testament book of Psalms – they’re God’s gift to us for such times. Psalm 42 is typical of their raw honesty. Twice here the writer says this:
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” (v5, v11)
Here, the writer talks to himself in prayer, knowing God is listening.
First, he acknowledges that he feels down (“downcast”) rather than denying it.
Secondly, he asks himself “Why?” It’s as if he’s giving himself permission to talk about why he feels down. ‘Talk to me. What’s making you down? I’m listening.’
When we feel down, God wants us to tell him. He listens. This is a Christian’s beautiful privilege. God never says to us “Stiff upper lip” or “Get over it”. He listens. And he knows that, in telling him how we feel, this turning to God is the very thing we need. Telling God is trusting God. Jesus himself prayed to God his Father like this — not least in his saddest time just hours before crucifixion (Matt 26:38-39) — and if we trust Jesus then he’s given us his Spirit so that we can pray to God our Father in the very same way.
Thirdly, emerging from all the above, the writer is able to find joy in God again. “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.” (v5, v11)
We’re not talking here about a ‘quick fix’. We may well still feel down. But by telling God and by his listening, he reminds that he’s there and that he loves us as the perfect Father.
Are you feeling down today? Tell God about it. Trust him to listen.
By Chris Hanning, Assistant Minister (Curate)
Heavenly Father, thank you that I can tell you about why I’m down, that you listen and care, and that you’re still my Saviour and my God. In Jesus’s name, Amen.