In the dumps: A gloomy, melancholy state of mind; depression. Do you ever find yourself “in the dumps”? We refer to this almost as a “place” rather than a frame of reference referring to our attitude. Yet, the origin of this phrase clearly points to a sense of deep melancholy. There are a ton of synonyms: down low, blue, sad, unhappy, low-spirited, discouraged, fed up, moody, pessimistic, glum, dejected, despondent, dispirited, downcast, morose, crestfallen, and downhearted. Whew! What a list! If you really look at all of them, where do these words “focus” us? Don’t they focus “us” on “us”? When we say we are “unhappy”, isn’t it really us interpreting something in life as “making us” feel less than good about a situation? When we say we are “discouraged”, aren’t we saying like we don’t feel like doing anything more to see the outcome change? The fact is, being “in the dumps” is really something which WE have control over!
When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you, from Jordan depths to Hermon heights, including Mount Mizar. Chaos calls to chaos, to the tune of whitewater rapids. Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers crash and crush me. Then God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night! My life is God’s prayer. (Psalm 42:6-8 MSG)
David says something we don’t want to gloss over – when he is “in the dumps”, he takes control! He begins to rehearse what he knows about God. To rehearse is similar to watching re-runs. You play the facts over and over again in your mind until your heart catches hold of them! The idea is one of allowing the things we "know" about God to get into our spirit and to begin to lift us from the place of despair we have allowed our spirit to drift into.
David also describes some how he "feels" when he finds himself "in the dumps". It is more than just a state of mind - he feels it intensely in his body. If you have ever been near whitewater rapids, you know how intensely loud this is. You almost cannot hear anything else because the noise from the rush of the water is so great. In the place of despair, melancholy, or depression, we often cannot hear over the "chaos" of the noise created by our own emotions! We find there is a whole lot of "clutter" interfering with us hearing correctly.
So, how do we deal with this "clutter" of "internal noise" which gets in the way of us hearing God? David says we continue to rehearse what we know until those other "noise sources" and "crushing forces" begin to let up. The truth is, when we focus on God and begin to rehearse his goodness in our lives, it is not long before some of the "noise" settles. The source of that "noise" cannot stand in the presence of God for long - it has to submit to God's presence!
The most awesome part of this passage almost escaped me, though! It is the very last statement: My life is God's prayer. Now, think on that a little with me. Our life - complete with all its mess and muddle - is God's prayer. I guess I never really thought about God praying, but then I had a moment of revelation. Jesus prayed! He interceded for us! And he continues to do so to this day! Jesus takes our needs before his Father. We also have the other member of the Trinity praying for us, as well. The Holy Spirits gives us the very words we utter, praying through us when we don't know how or what to pray - isn't this really a form of God praying?
So, David asks himself why he chooses to stay "in the dumps" when he has all this going for him. Sure, there is "noise" all around which only adds to the confusion of his low spot, but it is never louder than God's voice. Yes, there is "chaos" abounding, confusing us and getting us to a place of feeling almost dispirited, but his Spirit is there lifting us out of the place we sink so easily into. I wonder if we realize just how awesomely blessed we are to have God making us a matter of prayer? Just askin!