If we are depressed and cannot feel God’s presence, even when we don’t think we have done anything wrong, what should we do? Let’s learn from Psalms 42 and 43.
The author was very depressed. He felt God had forgotten him (v42:9). He didn’t think he had sinned, but he had lost his relationship with God and he was experiencing spiritual darkness.
What could have caused it?
First, he had lost his community. Previously, he was with a joyful, religious crowd, but now he was isolated in the mountains (v42:4,6). It is easier to feel depressed if we don’t have others’ support.
Second, bad things were happening to him, leading people to ask him all day long where his God was (v42:3). Gradually, he also asked God the same question (v42:9).
Third, he had lost his appetite (with tears as his food) and lost his sleep (crying all night) (v42:3).
Such setback, failure, and physical weakness, with no support, particularly when he didn’t know the cause, could have led to his depression.
How did the author get back up again?
Though the author felt down and out, he didn’t stop praying. Instead, he desperately searched for God, pouring himself out to Him (v42:1, 4). He also reminded himself to consider the love of God in his life (v42:6, 8).
Furthermore, he kept preaching to himself. Three times he questioned himself why he was so miserable. Three times, he told himself to put his hope in God (implying not in worldly things). And three times he said he would praise God, his Savior (v42:5, 11; 43:5, 3:3).
If we are depressed for a long period, we should take care of our health and find support from others. But it is much more important to keep praying to God, remembering His love as shown by Christ suffering for us. Also, we should keep asking ourselves why we are sad and remind ourselves to put our hope in God, praising Him as our Savior.
Summarized from a Tim Keller sermon:
这里的作者感到非常沮丧, 觉得上帝已经忘记了他（诗篇42：9）。他虽不认为自己犯了罪, 但已经失去了与上帝的关系, 正在经历心灵的黑暗。
除此以外，作者不住地向自己讲道。他三次自问为何如此沮丧，三次告诫自己要将希望寄托在上帝身上而非世俗的事物上，和三次宣告赞美上帝, 他的救主（诗篇42：5,11; 43：5；3：3）。
如果长期处于抑郁状态，应该照顾好自己的身体并寻求他人的支持。但更重要的是不断向上帝祈祷，记住祂的爱, 记住基督为我们受苦。此外不断地反省为什么感到难过，并告诉自己要将希望寄托在上帝身上，以及不断赞美祂, 我们的救主。