“When the world says, ‘GIVE UP,’ Hope whispers, ‘TRY IT ONE MORE TIME.’” ~Unknown
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 looking for ways 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?
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“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)
One reason for their depression is they all faced very painful or challenging circumstances. When we are asked to do something incredibly DIFFICULT, or when we face persecution, injury, or loss… our faith is tested. Everyone is susceptible 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 that feed our fear, doubt, and despondency. He continually schemes up 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 we least FEEL like going to church are the occasions when we most need friendly interaction and support. By choosing isolation, we give the enemy a big opportunity to drag us down into the 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, thanks to the promise of a new day. Trials 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, why not bend a knee? Ask God to send His ministering angels your way to lift you up. Petition God and ask that He send cheerful advocates your way. Friends who speak words of hope and encouragement are always comforting.
When emotions get the best of us, a fellow believer can offer biblical insights and shed light on difficult circumstances. If there are no answers to be found, a warm embrace and reassuring smile will help to calm our nerves and lift our spirits. Fellowship and compassion are provisions of God’s grace.
A perspective change can also be very helpful during times of adversity. I have found difficult moments bearable when I attempt to see things from God’s perspective. Through the eyes of God, love enters a scene. With love coloring the circumstances around me, trust in my Creator is once again restored. Additionally, compassion towards the one who wounded me is awakened and anxiety retreats, allowing problems to take on realistic proportions.
Philippians 4:8 is a wonderful verse to memorize for when we meditate on things that are praiseworthy, we are also reminded of God’s love and faithfulness.
“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)
I also encourage the recitation of God’s promises. Because our heavenly Father knew we would walk through difficult times and face painful adversities, He made sure to include countless words of encouragement in His Word. We can stand on each one of His faithful promises.
May the peace of Christ lead you through this day and provide the rest and comfort you desire.
MEDITATE ON THESE SCRIPTURE VERSES AND ENCOURAGING QUOTES:
“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 (NKJV)
“Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the windows which hope has opened.” ~Charles Spurgeon
“God is the only one who can make the valley of trouble a door of hope.” ~Catherine Marshall