As a Christian, whose goal is to spread joy, I am sad when I can’t feel joy myself.
Satan is quick to move in and say, “Well, there you go, hot shot, you can serve it up, but you can’t taste it. And you better be sure no one knows or you’ll compromise your so called witness to others.”
If we have problems with depression, do we have to hide it? Are real Christians ever depressed? Let’s look at a few.
Job was described as a righteous person, who pleased God. And yet after being put to the test, he cracked like an egg. He not only wanted to die, but he cursed the day he was ever born.
David, the Psalmist, who gave us some of the greatest praises in the Bible, also had very low moments he didn’t understand. He said,
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?”
Paul, the great missionary, struggled. He said,
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do.”
He went on to say, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”
Here is another one, Who definitely had a God Connection. And yet listen to His Words.
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”
Do you recognize Who said those words? It was Jesus!
So yes, it is possible to be very connected to God, and yet feel overwhelming sorrow, grief and mental pain.
All those feelings are real and can happen for any number of reasons, from genuine grief reactions to physical chemical imbalances within the body.
Depression is not a moral failure in itself, but satan uses it as an opportunity. He will try to take us to the next level, where we may start making bad choices. What started as a few wrong turns can end up with us being completely lost, if we are not careful.
No matter what is happening to us, as long as we can “keep our minds,” we hold out hope that somehow we can cope. But when depression takes over our minds and clouds our thoughts, we are no longer in charge. (We never were, but we thought we were!)
Every remedy we think of seems to lead to a dead end. There is some reason it won’t work or we just don’t have the mental energy to carry any plan to completion.
We often long to be comforted, but we can’t handle being with others because it is so difficult to stay focused on the conversation. We feel as if we are viewing life several orbits out from everyone else.
While we are usually genuinely interested in others, when we are mentally fighting just to survive, everything else becomes trivial. Even activities that once brought us joy no longer fill the bill.
What can we do? We can do what Jesus did when He was in the desert, being attacked, tempted and lied to by satan. (Matthew 4:1-11)
He didn’t speak from His own thoughts or feelings.
He didn’t try to figure out how He got there and how He was going to get out.
He didn’t feel that as a Spokesman for God, He should be immune from all this hassling.
He knew Who had brought Him to the desert.
“Then Jesus was led by The Spirit into the desert …”
He knew why He was there.
“Then Jesus was led by The Spirit into the desert to be tested by the devil.”
Jesus knew who his interrogator and tempter was. He knew it was satan, a crafty liar, who was going to use The Word of God to try to fool Him.
Don’t miss this. Satan loves to trip up Christians. He will happily get you to use your own Christian beliefs to hang yourself instead of tie him up.
But what did Jesus do? He simply quoted God’s Word back to satan. We can do the same. We don’t have to figure out what good it is going to do. We don’t have to test how we feel after we say it.
We simply have to trust that The Word of God has a Power to do something for our good that we cannot do for ourselves. God’s Word is not just a collection of letters. It is alive!
“For The Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
What do we say? Which scripture should we quote? Do we have to recite memory verses when we are already mentally a little slow?
Here’s the good news. If you can manage a groan, a whimper, calling God’s Name or The Name of Jesus, even silently, The Holy Spirit will take it from there. Release your whole self, including your mind, to The Holy Spirit.
” … 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. And He Who searches our hearts knows The Mind of The Spirit, because The Spirit intercedes for God’s People in accordance with The Will of God.”
Will the fog immediately lift? It could. It might not. Will Joy immediately flood your soul? It could. It will be there. But it may take time to bubble to the surface.
Trust The One Who is speaking for you. Trust that He is allowing your circumstances to prove to you that you can indeed trust Him, even when the path ahead is unmarked. Wait for The Peace and Joy.
“You will keep in Perfect Peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.”
What did Jesus do in The Garden when He admitted His Soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death?
He was honest with God about His Feelings.
He asked for what He wanted. But He relinquished all of Himself to The Father to make the choices for His Life.
He endured all that was God’s Plan for Him, keeping His View beyond the cross to the Joy that was coming.
He trusted. He hoped. He saw the better days ahead. He anticipated The Joy!
“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, The Pioneer and Perfecter of our faith. For the Joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at The Right Hand of The Throne of God.”