Many strong and inspiring figures of the Bible suffered from depression: David, Jonah, and Job are just a few.
David had Saul breathing down his back and trying to kill him. (1 Sam. 19:1-2) God commanded Jonah to warn his Ninevite enemies to repent. Instead, he turned tail and ran away. God then sent a whale to swallow Jonah, but only after sailors tossed him overboard hoping to calm a raging sea. (Jonah 1:4,11-12, 15). God tested Job’s faithfulness by permitting Satan’s request to afflict and torment him (Job 1:8-12). Each man had a strong relationship with God and a deep faith, yet they suffered from depression. Why?
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassion’s never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)
One reason for their depression is because they all faced very painful or challenging circumstances. When you are asked to do something incredibly hard, or when you face persecution, injury, or loss…. you too will find your faith tested. You may also fall prey to depression, which springs forth from roots of hopelessness. Even the mightiest of believers can tumble into this debilitating trap. The enemy is adept at spreading lies of hopelessness and fear. He schemes of ways to infiltrate our heart, which is the seat of our emotions. He persistently harasses and taunts the children of God.
Remember, he is that “prowling lion” who always watches for opportunities to devour his prey! As his intended prey, we need to remain with the flock and not isolate. Depression often causes a believer to step out of fellowship. This is an unwise and dangerous move. The times when you least FEEL like going to church are the occasions when you most need friendly interaction and support. By choosing isolation, you give the enemy a big opportunity to drag you down into a pit of despair.
Our God is a God of HOPE. Depression contradicts the promises of God, which are intended to encourage. There is always a new beginning to look forward to with each new day. Your trial might not end or improve tomorrow, but there are new blessings in every day, including the hope that the next sunrise will bring relief.
If you find yourself down and out of sorts, believing your situation is too much for you to bear….bend a knee. Ask God to send His ministering angels your way to lift you up. Humble yourself and ask others to pray for you. Offer up a petition and ask God to send cheerful advocates your way who will speak words of comfort and encouragement.
Why not ask your heavenly Father for insight and understanding? Try to change your perspective by asking God to give you His eyes and insight. Consider what His point of view might be regarding your struggle. Then, follow the directions given in Philippians 4:8. When you meditate on things that are praiseworthy, you will discover that your trust and hope in the provisions of God are reinstated. Your strength will also be restored.
Finally, consider God’s promises and how faithful He has been over the course of your entire lifetime. Because our heavenly Father knew we would walk through dark times and painful adversities, He made sure to include countless words of encouragement in His Word. Go ahead and stand on each promise you read today. Let your faith shine bright. I pray it is bright enough to guide you out of any dark pit that has robbed your joy. May His peace lead you to greener pastures of hope so that you find rest and comfort in your day.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” Proverbs 12:25 (NIV)
“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)
“Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19 (ESV)