Mental health is an important dimension of our well-being that we sometimes don’t like to address. In any given year, an estimated 26 percent of adults have a diagnosable mental illness. During our lifetime, at least half of us will have a mental health issue, but less than one-third of adults who need help will get it.
The writer of Psalm 73 was going through a time of skewed spiritual perceptions and dejected feelings. The introduction affirms a foundational truth: God is good (v. 1). But then there’s a long emotional descent in verses 2–14. To Asaph, God no longer seemed good or loving or just. Instead, it looked like the wicked were doing just fine. Asaph knew the truth, but he wasn’t “feeling it” in his everyday life. He was discouraged and depressed. His faith was weakened (v. 2). It seemed like his quest for purity or righteousness was a waste of time (v. 13). These thoughts “afflicted” him day after day (v. 14).
But notice a turn that comes in verses 15–17. Asaph “entered the sanctuary of God” and joined in congregational worship (v. 17). Worship kept his negative thoughts from becoming words and harming others. It corrected his distorted perceptions. Alone, his feelings could be mistaken and lead him astray, but in community his faith was strengthened.
The resulting ascent follows in verses 18–28. The truth is that whatever it looks or feels like now, the wicked will indeed be judged by the Lord. God has not left Asaph alone but holds his discouraged child by the hand (v. 23). He is faithful even or especially when we lose heart or are tempted to give up (v. 26). The bottom line: “It is good to be near God,” worshiping together with fellow believers (v. 28).
>> There are times when we’ve all felt like Asaph. Why does it sometimes seem that evil is winning? At those times, you may ask, “Where is God?” If you feel that way now, spend extra time meditating on verses 23–26.
Emmanuel, what does it mean for You to be with us? Although we believe, at times You seem so remote. We thirst for more intimacy with You. Destroy everything that hinders us from knowing You.