Depression is one of the most common ailments people I meet deal with daily. Depression is more than just feeling sad. It’s a bigger problem than simply going through a rough patch. We’ve all experienced sadness or walked through a rough patch in our lives. If you haven’t, wait–your day will come. Life isn’t fair and we don’t always get what we want.
However, for over 25 million Americans battling depression-the #1 cause of disability in the United States–is a debilitating disease that sucks the life out of the people dealing with it and causes great concern for those around them who love them and care about them. It impairs the strength of individuals to do basic things we all do, enjoy, and take for granted.
People suffering with depression find it hard to get out of bed in the morning, hold down a job and provide for their families, and even struggle with doing fun things like going to a movie, catching a ballgame, or shopping for new clothes.
There are many treatment options available for those seeking help. Being a spiritual guy, I like to see what Scripture has to say about things I grapple with or see others struggling with. While I realize this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I’ve found it works for me, if I’m open to letting it. Perhaps, it will help you. Ultimately, that’s my hope and desire.
In Deuteronomy, one of the five original books of the Talmud, recorded by the prophet Moses, we find encouragement in verse 8, chapter 31. “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Scripture reminds us that as believers we are not alone. That’s true if you are a believer who is depressed. God walks with ahead of us and with us. He is constantly by our side, never leaving us nor forsaking us. We don’t need to be fearful or alarmed by the things in the world that perturb us or the things within us that cause us to lose our courage and resolve.
In Psalm 34, we find words written by David in a psalm giving thanks and sharing the wisdom of a life lived trusting in God. In verse 18, David affirms “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” When we seek God through prayer, He responds to us and delivers us from the deepest depth of our sadness. God is able. In Christ, we find the strength to overcome the burdens of this life, whether they be external or internal, like depression is.
I find dealing with depression is often a battle of the internal grappling with the external. But at other times, when the clouds are the darkest and the burdens feel the heaviest, it’s the inside me wrestling with the me inside.
Lean on the Lord. He comforts those who follow Him. He has compassion for those who love Him. We are engraved on the palms of His hands and He has not forgotten us even when all else seems to have abandoned us. (Isaiah 49) You are not forsaken. In Him, you have hope. In Him, you will find your resolve.
In his letter to the Christians in Rome, the Apostle Paul reminds us “…hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5, ESV)
Are you battling depression? You can learn more here.
Coping with depression impacts millions of lives every day. I see it as part of the Devil’s attempt to destroy the image of God we were each made in. You see, the more he debases and devalues us the more he defiles the Lord that ultimately created him too. But God, is greater than he is. The battle is already won. We must seek to live in victory, not in defeat. It’s been said that Satan likes to call us by our sins, yet Jesus calls us by our name.
If you’re struggling today, know there is hope. Know there is help.
We’ve seen depression take a number of lives. We’ve lost people who make us laugh and people who knew how to make us cry. We’ve seen people with nothing left to lose act out and destroy the lives of others. If you’re struggling with depression, don’t go it alone. Reach out. Get help. You are not alone.
Peace be with you.
Thank you for addressing this important subject. I’m so grateful that church is finally getting on board and understanding that depression can be an actual illness, not just a temporary case of the blues. It’s hard to understand the differences between temporary sadness, situational depression, and clinical depression.
There’s a great book on this topic by Matthew Stanford, titled Grace for the Afflicted.http://www.amazon.com/Grace-Afflicted-Clinical-Biblical-Perspective/dp/0830856749 Dr. Stanford addresses how various mental illnesses act and gives practical suggestions for how the church can respond and minister in these situations, both for ministerial staff as well as laypersons. It’s very important to know that often depression can be helped through prayer and Scripture, but also understanding that God gives wisdom and healing to doctors and it’s important to know that it’s okay to have medical intervention. For too long Christians have acted as though depression is simply a lack of faith, and that’s very often not true. Thanks again for opening discussion on this very important topic.
Thanks Kathryn. I appreciate your kind comments and am thankful for the additional resources you provided.
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