Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
The way out of distress of soul is not self-made. It only comes when we look at the Maker of our souls. God can gladden the heart. David composed Psalm 86 out of his personal distress. He asked God to encourage, support, and deliver him. He wrote it feeling low, and in today's vernacular we might call him depressed.
The elements of his emotional state are expressed in his prayer to God. He is troubled (Psalm 86:7). Ungodly men are seeking David's death (Psalm 86:14), a situation David found himself confronting several times throughout his life. He saw no way to find strength, comfort, or relief except by trusting the faithful deliverance of God (Psalm 86:7, 10, 13, 15, 17).
How often is a Christian's soul troubled? Like David, we may find that such times are frequent. God does not promise us a perfect, trouble-free existence. Why would we need faith if that were the case? Jesus Himself was the Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief. He struggled with the weight of our sin, praying for the Father's deliverance. He told His disciples to expect trouble in this world. Yet He is also our forgiveness, mercy, and strength. He is the Father's steadfast love for us Who saves our souls from death.
When my soul is troubled, I will turn to Jesus my Lord. I will lift up my soul to Him so that He may carry my burden and gladden my soul! And like king David of ancient faith, I will trust in His faithful, steadfast love, knowing He will help me, gladden me, and hear me when I call out to Him.