January 10, 2011

Curing apathy

Psalms 119:69-70

The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law.


ecently, I was talking to an acquaintance who said she would rather have not been born, but since she was born she is going to make the best of it. She wasn’t depressed or suicidal; she simply is apathetic toward life—unfeeling. I find this very sad.

I tried to figure out what would make a seemingly healthy person consider life in such a way and had trouble coming up with any answers. But then this morning I read the passage in Psalm 119: their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law, and I got a glimpse of what might be wrong in this person’s heart.

This acquaintance is not a believer in Jesus Christ. In fact, when I talked to her about Jesus she prefaced one statement with, “if Jesus did exist...”. I, of course, did not allow that statement to pass by unchecked. But after I disabused her of the notion that Jesus was a myth she began regularly using the phrase, “I don’t care what he said.” Again, I find this very sad. But I think it gives a clue into why she views life in the way she does.

The passage from the Psalms presents a contrast. On one side the image is fat, which has no feeling. We are all aware of how that works. The areas of our body that are composed primarily of fat have very little sensation while the areas with little fat are quite sensitive. So this image makes sense to us.

On the other side of the contrast, the psalmist presents God’s law. Perhaps we would not have immediately understood the impact of God’s law in this case. But the psalmist lays out a contrast that forces us to see that God’s law is the opposite of unfeeling—like fat.

Perhaps the reason so many people in our society—especially young people—have given up on caring about life is that they do not understand God. It brings a whole new layer of importance to evangelism.

Thank you, God. I delight in your law.



  1. Well, I AM a Christian, a Believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and I still have times of depression, when I wish I had never been born, as did David.

    Take a look here, for just a few examples of David's Psalms of Depression:
    Psalms 6, 13, 18, 23, 25, 27, 31, 32, 34, 37-40, 42-43, 46, 51, 55, 62-63, 69, 71, 73, 77, 84, 86, 90-91, 94-95, 103-104, 107, 110, 116, 118, 121, 123-124, 130, 138, 139, 141-143, 146-147

    In my case, my father was killed in a car wreck when he was driving down here to visit us, my so-called Christian wife left me the week after the funeral, taking our children with her. She later divorced me, without giving me any true reason at all, and continues to do evil to me. She is the anti-Proverbs 31 woman.

    So, it is indeed hard, even for a Christian, to avoid depression, when it seems as though God has turned a deaf ear on your situation.

    PSALM 13
    How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
    How long must I take counsel in my soul
    and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
    How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

    Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
    light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
    Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
    Lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

    But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
    I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.

    We have to constantly remind ourselves of the last part of this, to trust, even when trust seems foolish, unanswered, hopeless.

  2. Thank you for your comment. You're absolutely right about this. And you are not alone; many of us suffer with bouts of depression and even ongoing clinical depression. I have not been through nearly the difficulties that you laid out here, and yet I find myself falling into times of depression when my own difficulties seem to press in on me.

    We live in a sinful world and that sin (along with our own) have made the world a pretty tough place to deal with at times. Praise God that he shows steadfast love to his children and is faithful to all generations.

    I'm right there with you - and we'll press forward together trusting in God's kindness. Thanks for bringing your balancing comments to my post. Balance is always needed.

  3. Thanks for your kind, and sensitive reply :-)


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