“My heart is stricken and withered like grass, so that I forget to eat my bread” (Psalm 102:4)
The Psalms offer a collection of beautiful poetry with extraordinary rich vocabulary and twists. The main author is David who wrote 73 Psalms. Fifty of them are anonymous and the remaining twenty-seven belong to other six authors: Asaph, the sons of Korah, Ethan, Heman. Moses and Solomon. Psalm 102 is one of the texts written by an anonymous author. Called by some Bible commentators as «the prayer of the affected,» this psalm has a rich vocabulary that evokes painful symptoms, typical of depression, which represent important barriers against getting accomplished as a human being.
Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has been applied in all the research areas of the human being no matter what the respective is. Everyone agrees that physiological needs like food, water and sleep at the bottom of the pyramid) are required in order to survive and perform basic tasks. It is also reasonable to assume that, once the basic needs are satisfied, we must enjoy physical safety and be secure from threats (the next level). Only when these basic needs are fulfilled can we establish significant relationships with other individuals (the next stage). The anonymous author of Psalm 102 identifies these three levels by saying that his condition makes it difficult for him to eat (v. 4), drink (v. 9) and sleep (v. 7). He also mentions that personal safety and integrity are threatened (vv. 3,11). With regard to the third level, the author reveals his privacy b describing himself as a solitary bird with no social support and whose enemies mock and conspire against him (vv. 7-8).
Being depressed implies a lack the basic requirements for our existence. Depression interferes with the fulfillment of many human needs. Fortunately, the same Psalm 102 adds messages of hope to its lament and affliction: Jehovah will endure forever (v.12) and He will take into consideration the prayer of the poor (v. 17); Jehovah will look down from His sanctuary to hear the groaning of the prisoners and to release the ones sentenced to death (v. 20).
If you feel like the author of this Psalm, a solitary bird, groaning and suffering, it is possible you may need support from your loved ones or even professional help. But the ultimate solution will be given by the Almighty Lord. He will bring you relief now and in the future. Cling to the promise of today’s psalm, «The children of Your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before You» (v. 28).