Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
“Cast down”. “Disquieted within me”. The past eight weeks I have felt, lived and breathed these words. The slipped disks sent me to the depths of pain. A day later, shingles across one side of my head send spikes of burning and blurred vision. Then a diagnosis of Lyme Disease turned my brain into a grief-stricken mush. My entire body was swollen, weak, and tender. Much more distressing, my thoughts, emotions, and spirit were constantly being sucked down in a whirlpool of despair. I could not read, listen to any sound, or watch anything. Panic attacks filled hours of my day and night. After a particularly tortuous episode, I planned a ‘go to Heaven party’. My plot was to drive to the most gang ridden section of a major city, and shout unkind, severe, ethnic words while wear a T-shirt with a large bulls eye on the back!! If only I could drive! If only I could understand directions! If only I could remember a major city close to me!!! If only I had THAT T-SHIRT!!!!!!
I hope you never reach that point in your life. I pray you are surrounded by peace and blessings from now to eternity. I trust you will never be plagued with overwhelming situations that bring you to the brink of a mental brake down.
But just in case you reach a place where you utter the words, “Cast down”, or “Disquieted within me”; the rest of the verse offers HOPE. Hope has become one of my favorite words. HOPE. It even rolls of the tongue like a sweet balm. In the middle of the verse is the phrase, “hope in God”.
One of my favorite authors, James Herriot, wrote that where there is life, there is hope. Realistically I had spent some time during my illness with NO HOPE. Looking back, it was because I chose not to have hope. I chose to believe I would never be better, never be sane again, never want to get out of bed, never be able to drive, never be able to attend church, never speak, never travel, never babysit grandchildren, never garden, never ride, never work…… I had a long list of items I would ‘never‘ do again!!!!
As I swam in my depression, the last phrase of Psalm 43:5 threw me a life line. “… who is the health of my countenance.” Maybe I was focusing on the wrong thing. I wanted a healthy, normal body and mind. I could care less about my countenance, which is why my countenance was in the toilet!
If my body, my mind and my life were in the pits, so be it, I cannot control that. But I CAN control my countenance and my spirit. I began to dwell on Galatians 5:22,23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Though 2/3 of my being was in distress, 1/3 could be healthy!
It became my goal to have a healthy countenance. Not surprisingly, the other issues in my life did not seem so dark. The clouds were still there, but bits of sunshine slipped through more and more often. As my countenance healed and became my focus, my body and mind seemed to move toward healing.
It is still a daily, hourly, sometime minutely situation. But it is not such a battle anymore. I have accepted the issues I can’t change, and embrace with gusto the issues I CAN change!
“For I shall yet praise him”. I give God all the praise for all He has done for me :)
ps...I can now drive. I do NOT want to drive to a major cit