Battling Depression God’s Way
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
The psalmist asks a question most of us have asked when we’re down, discouraged, or depressed. “Why?” Why can’t I shake the blues?
Years ago, while still in high school, I went through a low time in my life. My father had died and soon after, my mother suffered a debilitating stroke. As a result, I put on weight and withdrew from my friends. During the Christmas season, I was persuaded to go Christmas caroling with our church youth choir. But I didn’t feel like singing and my discouragement was showing. A friend took exception to my melancholy. She said, “What’s your problem?” I told her I was worried about my mom. “Get over it,” she snapped. “Everybody’s got problems.”
That event happened over fifty years ago, but I have never forgotten how it made me feel. Humiliated. Hurt. Wishing I could become invisible.
Some people have little patience with those who suffer from depression. Their remedy is a swift kick in the pants or a lecture on how foolish you are to be discouraged when you have so many blessings.
When you’re feeling blue, you can’t just snap your fingers and make it go away. And the chiding of a friend or family member is not helpful.
Take a close look at our focus text. Consider who the psalmist is talking to. He’s talking to himself. He’s trying to talk himself out of discouragement. And he has plenty of reasons for a cheerful spirit. After all, he was a child of God.
In fact, he is saying to himself something similar to what my friend said. “Why… are you downcast? Why so disturbed…?” What’s your problem?
Christians are not exempt from discouragement, disappointment, or depression. People of faith
get the blues. But the psalmist understood his condition was temporary. He knew there was hope to be found in God. When the storm passed, there would be cause for praise.
The way out of that hole of despair begins with a prayer. Sometimes the best you can do is, “Help me, Lord.” In fact, in those low times when you’re unable to pray, you have divine help upon which you can rely. The Holy Spirit prays on your behalf. “… the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (Romans 8:26)
The Holy Spirit’s prayer is spoken perfectly, with thoughts and words emanating from all wisdom and knowledge.
Even though you may feel powerless, helpless, and hopeless, you have the power of Almighty God working for you.
In Romans 8:34, we’re told that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father, “interceding for us.” You are not alone in your battle. The Holy Spirit is pleading your case. Jesus is praying for you.
But there’s more in that Romans passage that is so good, I suggest you memorize it. And the next time you find yourself mired in despair, call it to mind: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (v35)
You may not feel loved, but you are. NOTHING can separate you from the love of Christ.
We are the most medicated generation in history. When we hurt, we want a pill to fix it. But our God specializes in lifting people up, giving hope, changing perspective, and renewing strength.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
For more on this topic, check out this article: God Even Rescues Us from Ourselves
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.