Have you ever known depression? Have you been so worried and perplexed that you endured sleepless nights? Have you had times when you were so low and troubled, no one could comfort you? Have you been so down that you felt like giving up, feeling your life was a total failure?
I’m not talking about a physical condition. I’m not referring to people who have a chemical imbalance or mental illness. I’m talking about Christians who, from time to time, battle a depression that hits them from out of nowhere. Their condition often comes not from just a single source, but from many. At times they’re hit from all sides, until they’re so overwhelmed they can’t see beyond their despair.
If you can identify with this, then Psalm 77 was written for you. It is meant to point the way out of your distress and fear. This psalm was written by a man named Asaph, a Levite from the priestly line in Israel. Asaph was also a singer, and served as David’s appointed choir director. He wrote eleven psalms and they were so filled with righteous instruction for God’s people that I would call this man a lay preacher.
Asaph wrote Psalm 77 after he fell into a horrible pit of despair. His condition grew so bad that he was beyond comfort: “My soul refused to be comforted” (77:2). This godly man was in such despair, nothing anyone said could bring him out of his anguish. And Asaph himself couldn’t manage to say even a word: “I am so troubled that I cannot speak” (77:4).
Yet Asaph was a praying man. We see this in the same psalm as he testifies, “I cried unto God with my voice . . . and he gave ear unto me” (77:1).
I’m sure Asaph had heard David’s very similar testimony, in Psalm 34: “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry” (34:15). David says earlier in this psalm, “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. . . . This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles” (34:4, 6).