He challenges himself to do what should be done. The second step in the battle against depression follows from the act of addressing oneself in this manner. Indeed, it is a part of it. It is to challenge oneself to do what the spiritual self well knows should be done: "Put your hope in God." There can be no lasting hope in anything else in this sinful, failing world. There never has been. There never will be. Besides, the believer has put his or her trust in God in past days. He can do so again. It is a mark of simple sanity to do what the psalmist urges should be done.

Attacks from ungodly, deceitful and wicked persons (43:1). The second of these two psalms brings in another cause of depression. It is attacks by unscrupulous and deceitful enemies. These are probably the same persons who taunted the psalmist earlier, asking, "Where is your God?" But in this section we learn that they had also been attacking him unjustly, since he prays for vindication and a pleading of his cause by God. Most of us can relate to this too, since it is not unusual for those who try to live for God to be unjustly accused, attacked and slandered. Jesus said, "You do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.... If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also" (John 15:19, 20). It is an unusual person who will not be depressed by malicious and hurtful treatment, at least at times.

Memories of better days (42:4). The psalmist was also troubled by memories of better days. There is a proper use of memory in times when we are depressed, which we will get to. It is a memory of God's past acts as an encouragement to believe that he will act for us again. But that is not the first use of memory we find in these psalms. What we find here is the writer's wistful remembrance of the good days when he “…used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng” (42:4).

These two psalms give at least six reasons for depression, and they indicate the cure. What are the causes of spiritual depression? There are undoubtedly more than these psalms list, but the place to begin is with the causes that are given.

It is hard for me to imagine that a book about depression would be very popular, but in 1965 D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London, published a book entitled Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure, which turned out to be one of the most highly valued and widely circulated books he ever wrote.1 Perhaps you have seen it. The only conceivable reason it has been so popular is not that the subject itself is attractive, but that so many people, including Christians, are depressed and looking for solutions.2