“….Darkness is my closest friend.” (Psalm 88:18)
Should Christians ever struggle with depression?
The short answer: Yes. The long answer: Yes.
We see it throughout Scripture: in the words of the Psalmists, the prophets, and the apostle Paul (writer of most of the New Testament.)
“If there is a hell on earth, it is to be found in a depressed heart,” observed Robert Burton in the 1600’s. “Deep depression is embodied emotional suffering,” one expert stated. “Depression is an ache in the soul that crushes your spirit,” stated another.
One person suffering from depression said, “I feel as though I died a few weeks ago and my body hasn’t found out yet.” Another described it as, “It’s like drowning – except you can see everyone around you breathing.”
Consider the following depression-driven quote: “I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would be [but] one cheerful face on earth. Whether I shall be better I cannot tell; I awfully forebode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be better, it appears to me.” Those are the words of a 32 year old Abraham Lincoln.
So, what does it mean if you’re a Christian and you struggle with depression? It means you’re absolutely normal. 🙂
Obviously, there are varying degrees of depression ranging from the common “blues,” to clinical depression, requiring medication. But, most, if not all, will at some time in their life, struggle with some form of depression. Make no mistake – mankind asked for this “enemy” when we, in essence, told God to shove off and leave us alone in Eden.
The bad news: God let us have our way (which has been a disaster). The good news: He didn’t leave us alone (think: Jesus Christ.)
So, as with any other emotional enemy, God not only is able to hold us up in the midst of it – He’s actually able to use it in our lives for His glory. That’s never anything but amazing to me.
Joseph told his very brothers, who sold him into Egyptian slavery (they originally wanted to murder him), “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. (Genesis 50:20, nlt) Those words spoken by Joseph thousands of years ago are as true today as they were when Joseph said them. Nothing can stop Almighty God from using this fallen world (in which we’re stuck for the moment) for His purposes & glory.
Below is an outstanding blog by Tom Rainer about how God uses depression in the life of ministers. The principles apply, though, even if you’re not in vocational ministry.
NOTE: If you struggle with depression get help immediately.