I am relentlessly challenged by the magnificence of the Psalms, especially those penned by David while he was in despair. To those Christians who have or do struggle with the gloomy darkness of depression, these Psalms are like a sweet salve to the soul. I love the way David’s writing always begins with sincere honesty of his depressive struggle, but also I love that it doesn’t stay there. He always moves to his hope, his defense, the goodness of his God. It is in this vein that I felt compelled recently to write about the feelings of depression that can seem to capture a believer’s soul while he yet trusts in the Lord. The first half of this poem attempts to look inward, to describe the feelings of a believer’s inexplicable discouragement, chiefly the depression that comes from being depressed (as ironically as that sounds). But the second half is intended to draw our eyes from off of our own failure and uses the first chapter of Ephesians to draw our soul heavenly to consider God’s glorious grace that calms, heals and loves our troubled souls. I know that I am not a gifted poet, but I though that perhaps someone who feels the “darkness deepen” may be encouraged by this short poem that I wrote.
Darkness deepens, sorrows multiply with increasing intensity;
I do not understand why, O Soul, why I feel this captivity.
I remember yesterday and long for the great tomorrow,
Yet I have no hope for today, my heart is filled with sorrow.
I cannot explain the gloom that holds my soul in deep despair.
I cannot understand the guilty feelings that from my breast do flair.
Fear of life, fear of death, paralyzed with indecision, I equally hope for the two.
Joy in life, joy in death, prance before my eyes like a lover intent my heart to woo.
Foolish words spring from my throat, gurgling as a wild brook;
Their cruel honesty revealing my heart’s deceit — my foundation shook.
O, that I could leave this painful, wretched mind behind
To fly to a desert place, alone, at last – O! to this I am inclined.
Where can I run, save to my soul’s only hope and hiding place,
A shelter from my own deceit, to calm my twisted face?
For you have chosen me before the world was founded;
You have loved me as a Son, not slave, and I am astounded.
You marked me out contented by the pleasure of what you willed,
To receive the amazing gift of grace, my Father, Divinely skilled.
Through your one and only Son, “redeemed!” you cry with delight;
And with gentle mercy you whisper to my heart “Forgiven in my sight!”
And yet if that were not enough, “be sealed, the promised Spirit in you alive!”
Your own happy Presence, my hope of joy; through You my soul forever thrive.
“To the praise of your glory” is all that my wounded soul may reply,
“To the praise of your glory” to you, O my God, I will spread my wings and fly.