Psalm 137:1 opens with the author in despair. It says, “By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.” The exiles in Babylon had been driven from their homes and lands and taken to a foreign country. They fell deep into the pit of despair. Yet, Jeremiah’s word to them was to get up, go on, build homes, establish businesses, get on with your life. But the grief had crippled them.

Worry, anxiety, and depression and despair have been the subjects of many discourses. The reason, of course, is that these conditions are so common to everyone. Many descriptions of these times have been given: Worry is nothing more than borrowed trouble. Worry is unbelief in disguise. Worry does not relieve tomorrow of its stress—it merely empties today of its strength. The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety. —George Mueller. Depression is the Devil’s tool in thwarting the joy of believers and in immobilizing them in the Lord’s service. When Christian, in Pilgrim’s Progress fell into the pit of despair, it took a long time for him to come out of it.

You cannot read the book of Psalms without sensing the deep cloud of emotional gloom experienced at times even by King David, this man after God’s own heart. “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?” (Psalm 43:5). But David also knew the right answer for these dark times. First, he honestly admitted his feelings to God. Second, he re-established his confidence in God. Third, he determined to praise Him—“I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” This three-stage antidote for despair is still the cure for our emotional anxieties, depressions and despair today.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1)