Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. - Psalm 42:5
Numbness is a warning sign to us. Typically we try to emotionally numb ourselves from pain or bad experiences, but we cannot be selectively numb. Emotional numbness can spread, almost imperceptibly, until it takes over and brings with it a dark night of the soul, immense and brooding. Bouts of depression can be crippling to us. The great British preacher Martyn Lloyd Jones recognized the difficulty of depression, and its spiritual roots. He preached an entire series on the topic, which is now found in book form.
In reflecting on Psalm 42 Lloyd Jones wrote,
"Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself rather than talking to yourself?...
The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: 'Why art thou downcast?' - what business have you to be disquieted? You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: 'Hope thou in God' - instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: 'I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God.'