Hope For The Downcast Soul

There are seasons of life when our souls seem captured by time.

We mourn a heart-wrenching loss, we remember a person dear to our heart, we envision a place in the distant past of our journey.

Over and over again, the finite mind reviews the loss and feels the pain. And then our soul becomes downcast, as Jeremiah so vividly describes in his lamentations. The verb in the Hebrew literally describes being downcast as a downward movement within, a brokenness and even despair. The sons of Korah describe their experience this way. “For our soul has sunk down into the dust; Our body cleaves to the earth” (Psalm 44:25).

How often have you felt downcast?

Jeremiah is a hero of the faith and stands as an example for us especially in times where we feel as though there is no hope. For he became so discouraged in ministry that he has been called “the weeping prophet” by many commentators. In his lamentations Jeremiah brings encouraging words for the discouraged and desolate servant of the Lord.

You can count on this, dear friend — there is hope for every hurting heart and all downcast souls.

Listen to Jeremiah’s great discovery in his deepest despair —

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!” The LORD is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD.
Lamentations 3: NLT

These words encourage every downcast soul to realize that it’s always too soon to give up. In those times we can dare to hope instead of dropping to despair. The Lord is at work and His mercy and faithfulness serve to bring about magnificent plans we cannot even begin to understand. And in those times, as Jeremiah experienced, we discover the Lord as our great inheritance and portion in life. He is more than we know right now and everything we need for every circumstance of life. Charles Spurgeon shares these encouraging words designed especially for downcast souls —

Dear believer, if you are in trouble, the voice of that trouble is designed to draw you nearer to God. God has favored you, favored you with an extraordinary means of growth in grace. To use Rutherford’s simile, “He has put you down in the wine cellar in the dark. Now begin to try the well–refined wines on the lees (Is. 25:6). He has brought you to a sandy desert. Now begin to seek the treasures that are hid in the sand.” Believe that the deepest afflictions are always neighbors to the highest joys. The greatest possible privileges lie close to the darkest trials. The more bitter your sorrow, the louder your song at the end. There is a reason, and that reason faith may discover and experience may live on. Our afflictions are the highway that leads us closer to God. Our troubles are a fiery chariot to bring us to God. Our afflictions, wave upon wave, will drive our souls nearer heaven. It is a blessed thing when God’s judgments bring us closer to Him. May God bless you, my tested friend.
Charles Spurgeon, Beside Still Waters

I was traveling the northwest shore of Maui, searching for much-needed rest, during a time when the weather was supposed to be beautiful, the days long and lazy. Instead, a fierce storm began building as clouds and heavy mist rolled in. It surely didn’t feel like the postcard Hawaii that I had imagined. As I looked out over the landscape, I saw that the foggy mist was hanging low, causing the trees to appear even more green and lush than usual, and rising above the cloudy surroundings. I realized the moisture and other elements of the storm would make those trees even more verdant and bring a magnificent beauty once the storm passed. There was nothing I could do to change this experience of wind and rain. And so, during the storm, I grabbed my camera to capture the beauty of the mist among the trees.

And I believe this is similar to what we learn from Jeremiah, who walked the journey of a downcast soul, for our own seasons of difficulty. Hope allows us to find the treasure in the trial, the gold in the dust of the desert. We learn that hope is a daring step of faith — one that is never easy yet always fruitful in results. Hope means “holding on with patient expectation.” And how can we do it? By remembering the Lord and all His magnificent promises. When we look to God, we see the truth and reality in the midst of our trouble. We see it’s not over because God’s mercies are new every morning. We see that we are not alone without help, for God’s faithfulness is great. We see we are not poverty-stricken, but rich with the Lord as our inheritance. We may have thought we had no support, but in fact we have the greatest foundation and rock of all — the Lord. We can depend on Him. And when we trust Him, we will see that He is good.

I love these words from Mrs. Charles Cowman in Streams in the Desert

If there is a great trial in your life today, do not own it as a defeat, but continue, by faith, to claim the victory through Him who is able to make you more than conqueror, and a glorious victory will soon be apparent. Let us learn that in all the hard places God brings us into, He is making opportunities for us to exercise such faith in Him as will bring about blessed results and greatly glorify His name (Life of Praise).

“Defeat may serve as well as victory
To shake the soul and let the glory out.
When the great oak is straining in the wind,
The boughs drink in new beauty, and the trunk
Sends down a deeper root on the windward side.
Only the soul that knows the mighty grief
Can know the mighty rapture. Sorrows come
To stretch out spaces in the heart for joy.”

Mrs. Charles Cowman in Streams in the Desert

So, let us dare to hope today in whatever season of life we are experiencing. Let’s say with Jeremiah to our very own soul, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore I will hope in Him!”

♥ Blessings and Grace to You!


myPhotoWalk Technical

  • Title: Hope For The Downcast Soul
  •   Request This Image > SmugMug Image Request
  • Description: A misty rain sweeps over the northwest shoreline at Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii, USA.
  • Creator: Catherine Martin
  • Date Created: 05/12/14
  • Camera: Nikon D7000, 80-400.0 mm, Focal Length 260.0 mm, f/18.0, 1/4, ISO 100.
  • Photoshoot: myPhotoWalk Photoshoot in Maui, Hawaii, USA.
  • Post-Processing: Adobe Camera Raw, Adobe Photoshop, Nik Software, OnOne Software.
  • Copyright ©2018 Catherine Martin — myPhotoWalk™ — Quiet Time Ministries. All Rights Reserved.
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