By Dawn Wilson, Crosswalk.com
It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by life circumstances, and being overwhelmed can leave us drained and desperate. When we are physically, mentally, or spiritually drained, we need far more than propping up. We need a sense that God is real and involved in our lives. We need to claim the truths we have in our Father God and His Son, Jesus, our Savior.
Here are Scriptures from 10 psalms that can help when we feel drained — in those times when what we actually need are strength, stability, hope, peace, refreshment, joy, comfort, deliverance, courage, and the healing rest of a good night’s sleep.
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1. Psalm 27:14 – Build Strength, because God Is Faithful
Sometimes feeling drained comes because we struggle with human weakness. Psalm 27 is packed with ways God is good and faithful to His children in the midst of their weakness. God is the believer’s light, salvation, place of safety, helper, and more. In light of all these blessings, David said,
“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”
Our flesh and heart may fail in weakness, but the Bible says God is our strength, and He gives strength. We are counseled to be strong as we “wait for the Lord,” meaning we are to spend time seeking Him and standing firmly on His faithful promises. To wait for the Lord is to actively place our hope in Him and His unfailing love (Psalm 33:20, 22). David urges all who place their hope in the Lord to “be strong and take heart” — a phrase David repeated for emphasis in Psalm 31:24.
Isaiah wrote about the strength of the everlasting God, saying, “He will not grow tired or weary . . . He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” When at the end of your rope, don’t give up. God can help you soar like an eagle! When depleted, burned out, or simply dragging, run to Him, soak in His faithfulness to you, and allow Him to infuse you with fresh strength.
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2. Psalm 40:1-2 – Discover Stability, because God Is Our Solid Rock
Sometimes when we feel drained, it’s because everything around us seems shaken, and it’s hard to keep standing. The psalmist declared in verses 1-2,
“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”
David felt like his situation was devastating, and He needed God to rescue him and give him “a firm place to stand.” David said, “with him (God) at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (Psalm 16:8).
David often described himself as being in a state where his feet were slipping or almost slipping (Psalm 73:2; 94:18). But he also said the Lord firms up the steps of the one who delights in Him, and “though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him. . . .” (Psalm 37:23-24).
Our God is a rock (Psalm 18:2, 31-32) — a firm foundation for not only our faith (Psalm 62:1-2), but also for daily living. When life seems to fall apart, when we are tired of dealing with one hard issue after another, or when we feel drained of all strength to stand, it is God who sets us in a place of stability, firmly grounded in Him! Like David, we may feel “poor and needy,” but we can rejoice that God is our help and deliverer.
For David, the transformation from floundering to stability was so profound that he sang a hymn of praise to the Lord that encouraged others to want to know the God he loved.
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3. Psalm 3:3 – Have Hope, because God Lifts Our Head
Most people know what it’s like to feel droopy and drained. Sometimes it gets rough when we’re fighting “enemies” — oppression or accusations from others, or personal weights and sins that beset us. Tired and frustrated, we may hang our head low and think, “I can’t do this anymore!”
The psalmist understood this; and he knew where to focus. In Psalm 3:3, David prayed,
“But you, O LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, and the lifter of my head” (ESV).
David believed God watched over him, shielding him on all sides in times of trouble and rescuing him when he felt overwhelmed. Some people might say our confidence in the Lord enables us to hold up our heads in any situation, but this verse clearly says when we cry out to God, He lifts our head high! Either way, we don’t have to remain in a drained, droopy state.
Another translation of this verse (NLT) says, “holds my head high.” Imagine feeling like you’re drowning in your problems, but God comes alongside and holds your head above the water. There is always hope when we know the Lord God.
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4. Psalm 6:2-3a – Experience Peace, because God Hears Repentant Prayers
Again, one of the most draining things in life is dealing with the weight of sin, regrets, and the consequences of sinful choices. We hear this in David’s lament as he cries out to God:
“Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish.”
In those verses, we sense David’s cry for inner peace.
Psalm 6 is one of the seven penitential psalms that express confession and repentance. Some Bible scholars believe the psalm was written when David, struggling with old age, faced many enemies, even a rebellious conspiracy and uprising mounted by his proud son, Absalom. Others believe David was still wracked with sorrow over his sin with Bathsheba. He may have wondered whether his bodily suffering was somehow God’s discipline for his sin.
Though feeling drained in his deep anguish, David ultimately found peace in confession and repentance. He said, “The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer” (verse 9). We too can find peace in our spirit as we stop fighting against our conscience, ask God to search our heart and thoughts for “any offensive way” in us, and confess our sin.
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5. Psalm 23:1-3a – Enjoy Refreshment, in Our Shepherd’s Presence
When drained and distressed, it is the Lord’s presence that helps us relax. In His presence, we are quieted and refreshed. Psalm 23 reminds us of the many ways God shepherds us. Although the entire psalm is well-known and loved, the first verses can immediately calm and encourage us.
“The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.”
We lack nothing we truly need when we are part of the shepherd’s flock. Sometimes, what we need is simply to calm down and allow the Shepherd of our souls to refresh and fill us. While the word is “refreshes” in the NIV, it is translated “restores” in the ESV. God wants to restore us so we can keep moving forward in positive ways.
The psalmist said there are “pleasures forevermore” at God’s right hand (Psalm 16:11). That is certainly true for eternity, but we need to ask God to make us more aware of His blessings in the here and now. Psalm 34:8 says to “taste and see that the LORD is good!” Counting the wonders of God’s love and grace will help us feel refreshed and restored instead of worn down.
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6. Psalm 28:7 – Find Joy, because God Helps Those Who Trust Him
Sometimes when we feel drained and desperate, we forget that God stands ready to help and strengthen us. When we long for Him and thirst for Him, we find we are fully satisfied in Him. David said,
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”
David listed two ways in this Scripture that the Lord helps us. He is our strength, but also our shield of protection. When we feel drained, we need His strength, but we also need His protection against the enemy, because when we are “down,” we can be sure Satan is up to something!
Simply put, God helps us because He loves us; and because He comes to our aid, we joyfully praise Him. As David said, “Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings” (Psalm 63:7).
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7. Psalm 34:17-18 - Experience Comfort, because God Understands Our Troubles
When we feel drained, we are ripe for a pity-party. In those times, it’s simple to say, “No one understands,” and we curl up in a sorry ball of depression. Yet how comforting to know that Father God, who created us, understands our struggles and troubles, and in our times of distress, He draws near.
“The righteous cry out, and LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
David made it personal, saying, “This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles” (v. 6.)
In another psalm, the Sons of Korah sang, “God is . . . an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). In our greatest trials, God is available to help us hold on and hold out, and He comforts us in the process.
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8. Psalm 37:39-40 – Claim Deliverance, because God Is Our Refuge
One of the most encouraging words to one who feels drained in the struggles of life, especially when dealing with difficult people, is “deliverance.” At times, believers may face pure evil in the form of persecution, or it simply may seem that the wicked have the upper hand. In times like these, it feels like all our prayers are, “Lord, help!”
We must believe that God is our refuge, our deliverer. David explained:
“The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.”
God is our stronghold, our refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 37 reminds us to look at life with an eye of faith. There is no reason to fear or envy the wicked when we have the power and evidences of God’s loving, protective care all around us.
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9. Psalm 56:3-4 – Take Courage, because God Is Trustworthy
How many times, when we feel drained, are we actually cowering in fear? Perhaps we have felt the sting of abusive words or actions, or felt battered down by the constant thrashing of tough circumstances. We pull back, saying, “I can’t deal with this another minute!”
David certainly had many occasions to fear. This psalm says David’s adversaries pursued him daily and proudly attacked him. They twisted his words and schemed for his ruin. They even conspired to take his life. But David had a secret weapon. He said,
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise — in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
What drains us might not be wicked people, but rather terrible news like a cancer report or circumstances that make us cringe in fear. Yet in Psalm 46, David said that because God is our refuge, strength, and help, “Therefore we will not fear.” When drained in our battles to the point where we turn away in fear, we need to reaffirm our trust in a trustworthy God and in His Word. Our God is stronger than all our enemies put together.
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10. Psalm 4:8 — Embrace Sleep, because God Is Our Provider
Some days feel like one long, stressful battle. When we feel drained from worry about the latest world or personal crisis, our thoughts keep us up at night. We may desperately need sleep! Without it, we will struggle to cope with our circumstances the next day. David knew the importance of healing, comforting rest. He prayed,
“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
Psalm 4 is about God’s provision for His children in an unsafe world. David cried out to God for His people because they were crying out to false gods to deliver them. Some commentators believe Israel was facing a severe drought and famine at the time. David knew that God was Israel’s hope, not idols.
Struggling with tough questions — Why? How? When? — can cause insomnia. We must remember that God is our ultimate provider and helper. Because He loves us, He wants us to get restful sleep (Psalm 121:3; 127:2). We can wisely and safely take our questions and anxieties to Him and leave our stress in His hands, moving from drained to sustained as we trust in Him.
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