Psalms 22

In the midst of my depression I flirted with the idea that God did not know the future… He must not, for how could all this pain be allowed in my life? 

It’s the age-old question many atheists ask. If God is so loving then why [fill in the blanks].

For me, that blank was depression.

Over 12 years ago, I once had very close friends. I thought of them as best friends. They hurt me, so I hurt them back. They hurt me more. So, I grew bitter. It was in the midst of this bitterness that depression came. I turned to my theology at the time. Word of faith doctrine wasn’t holding up. I couldn’t keep lying to myself. 

The kingdom of God is coming to this earth, just like in the Lord’s prayer, “Thy kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” But we are still asking for it to come. It isn’t fully here.

On earth life can be hellish at times.

In my bitterness, God painted me in a corner. In all of my reading of the bible, I wanted God’s justice. I wanted God to rain damnation on my once best friends. I wanted revenge.

But God doesn’t call us to these types of things. I had no choice now. I just couldn’t do it anymore. Jesus was the only person who had the right to judge those who wrongly accused Him. He chose to forgive.

I had to forgive. And so I did.

I wrote my previous friends a very heart-felt forgiveness letter. I told them all of the wrongs I did. I didn’t add a “but you did this” anywhere in the letter. It was the purest letter of forgiveness I had ever written.

My ex-friends, they took this letter. They also took every sin and wrong they had and placed it on my back. They blamed me for all of their sins, along with mine.

My depression grew. Eventually it turned me away from the sick foolishness of hyper-grace and word of lies teachings.

I was at a Baptist church at the time. After leaving that church I attended a Presbyterian PCA church. I had no idea what I was getting into!

Eventually I sought counseling with one of the members of this church. I told him my sob story. He responded, “Where is Jesus in all of this?”

Because of the false teachings of hyper-grace, I had strayed away from a daily walk with the Lord. Even though I exhibited the forgiveness in the midst of depression and bitterness, my ex-friend’s response had left me dead inside. I hadn’t turned to Jesus.

My counselor encouraged me to read the Psalms. It helped so much.

One time I was reading Psalms 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
    and by night, but I find no rest.

I cried out to God, “This is how I feel oh Lord! Why can’t you understand me?”

Yet you are holy,
    enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
    they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
    they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
“He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
    let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

Where is your deliverance Oh Lord?

Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
    you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
10 On you was I cast from my birth,
    and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11 Be not far from me,
    for trouble is near,
    and there is none to help.

If only you understood, but you are far from me!

12 Many bulls encompass me;
    strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me,
    like a ravening and roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
    it is melted within my breast;
15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
    and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
    you lay me in the dust of death.

You don’t understand our struggles Father! You exists outside of time and space. How can you know?

16 For dogs encompass me;
    a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—

At this point I paused… I realized the Psalm was a prophetic song about Jesus. It was written from His perspective. In fact, He quoted the first verse on the cross as a reference to how He felt. “My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me?

17 I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.

19 But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
    O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
    my precious life from the power of the dog!
21     Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!

22 I will tell of your name to my brothers;
    in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
    and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or abhorred
    the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
    but has heard, when he cried to him.

Why does God allow such evil to happen? Because sin must have its way for a season. And Jesus lived in this fallen world. He went through the same emotions we did. In the prayer of the Garden of Gethsemane, he faced hopelessness ending with, “not My will but Yours be done.”

On the cross He faced a deep depression.

The question isn’t “why is there so much evil in the world?” There is, there really is. But at the heart of it, what is being done to overcome this evil?

Psalms 22 concludes:

25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
    my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
    those who seek him shall praise the Lord!
    May your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
    and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
    shall worship before you.
28 For kingship belongs to the Lord,
    and he rules over the nations.

29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
    before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
    even the one who could not keep himself alive.

The last part of verse 29 hits me pretty hard every time I read it. When I was in the deepest moments of my depression, I contemplated ending it. But God was there protection and watching over me. He always is and He always has.

30 Posterity shall serve him;
    it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
    that he has done it.

Christ Has Done It!

Not me. Not you. Only Christ can overcome the evils of this world.

If you are dealing with depression, I encourage you, seek Christian counseling and turn to the Psalms!

Recognize that Jesus was here. He knows exactly what you are going through. He went through it and more so.

Also note church history. The martyrs cry out as a testament to the goodness of God proven through weakness.

God has chosen our weakness to prove His strength! In this, it will confound all who know it and in the end, none can claim glory but Jesus alone!

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