depression

Have you ever had one of those days that you were looking for a ledge to climb out onto?

I’m reminded of Elijah who had just come off a spiritual peak and then came the crash and burn and he was looking for a ledge. Jezebel had made some threats to him and he ran away crying like a little school girl. (You can read his story in 1 King 17-19.) I think of the Apostle Paul in his most personal letter of 2 Corinthians. In the opening verses he begins from the pit:

[8] For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.
(2 Corinthians 1:8 ESV)

Was he looking for a ledge? We don’t know, but he was pretty down. He was lower than a rattlesnake’s belly.

I don’t mean to make light of depression…I sometimes battle with it or something like it. I’m not sure what to call it. There is some depression in my family so I really shouldn’t be that surprised. I can have really really big highs and some crushing lows. I’m encouraged to know that one of the best of the best, Charles Spurgeon, dealt with depression.

Now here are some unhelpful solutions:

  1. Some suggest that retail therapy is the answer. Dropping major coin on a new convertible or some pocket change on an iTunes download may cheer you up for a short, but let me tell you, the feelings will still be there when the shine of the new whatever wears off.
  2. I’ve tried binging on food. Most people either have a salty weakness or they’re a sweet freak. I have a double whammy because I can eat myself to the bottom of a bag or chips or enjoy spoon after spoon from PC’s Crackle Whatever Ice Cream over the sink. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t solve any problems and if you do it too much your pants may fit a little tighter and your shirt a little snugger.
  3. Shot gun an energy drink. I’ve never tried this. I watched a co-worker do this one time with a Red Bull. (Well, it really wasn’t shot gunning. A true shot gun involves putting a hole near the bottom of one side of the can, putting your mouth over the hole, lifting the can upright, and then pulling the tab and the liquid gushing into your mouth…really, really fast. You’ll feel bloated for the next hour. We shot gunned Cokes in high school.) I’ve never done it with an energy drink and don’t intend to. You’ll have a short term buzz and feel bloated but the blahs will still be there.

I could go on with the list and I know the last one may have seemed a little silly for you but we try lots of things to ease the pain. We’re looking for relief. We’re looking for hope. We’re looking for peace amid the pain and we sometimes forget to look up.

Psalm 42 shows a guy panting and desperate for God. He was thirsting for God. He’d been crying and he looks back to sweeter times when he was leading the gang to church. He was the one who sang the loudest and the longest. But it seems that he had forgotten God. But he keeps going back to the phrase ‘hope in God.’ Psalm 42 carries over to 43 and he ends that Psalm with the same words:

[5] Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
(Psalm 43:5 ESV)

I mentioned the Apostle Paul’s despair in 2 Corinthians but I didn’t mention the verse that followed:

[9] Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:9 ESV)

I know when I am in the dumps that I am usually believing my feelings which can be so far from the truth and usually my feelings don’t include an accurate picture of God. They usually include a smaller, punier image that is so far removed from the reality of the One who saved my soul.

So how does a person hope in God or how does a person rely on God? I’d suggest that we rely on Him by reminding ourselves of His true identity. We want to see Him more accurately than we do when we’re in our funk. So I want to leave you with a few verses that have been helpful for me during the dark nights of my soul. The Bible is chucked full of hope-giving, mind-altering, soul-affirming verses like what follows:

[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, [4] even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him… (Ephesians 1:3-4 ESV)

[15] He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. [16] For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:15-16 ESV)

[8] For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
[9] For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV)

I may not have included your favourite verses. I didn’t even include mine,  other than the first one. I just jotted down some of the ones that came to mind. They’ve been encouraging to my soul. I hope that these verses or ones like them can be used for helping you get a death-grip on depression.

 

 

 

 

 

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