Over and over, the Psalmist asks, “Why is my soul cast down? I feel useless and forsaken. There’s such a restlessness inside me. Why, Lord? Why do I feel so helpless in my affliction?” (See Psalm 42:11 and Psalm 43:5.) These questions speak for multitudes who have loved and served God.
Take godly Elijah, for example. We see him under a juniper tree, begging God to kill him. He’s so downcast that he’s at the point of giving up his own life. We also find righteous Jeremiah cast down in despair. The prophet cries, “Lord, you’ve deceived me. You told me to prophesy all these things, but none of them has come to pass. I’ve done nothing but seek you all my life. This is how I’m repaid? Now I’ll no longer mention your name.”
Each of these servants is under a temporary attack of unbelief, but the Lord understood their condition in times of confusion and doubt. After a period, he always pointed them to their way out. In the midst of their afflictions, the Holy Spirit turned on the light for them.
Consider Elijah’s testimony. “There he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1 Kings 19:9, NKJV). This meeting sparked new life in him, something that Jeremiah also expressed. “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by your name, O Lord God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16, NKJV). At some point, each of these servants remembered God’s Word, and it became the source of joy and rejoicing in their lives, pulling them out of the pit.
The truth is that the whole time these people were struggling, the Lord was sitting by, waiting. He heard their cries and anguish. After a certain time had passed, he told them, “You’ve had your time of grief and doubt. Now I want you to trust me. Will you go back to my Word? Will you lay hold of my promise to you? If you do, my Word will see you through.”
That promise and Word from the Lord will see us through every hard time and lift up our souls when we are cast down.