About twelve or thirteen years ago my dad had started through a time of really serious health problems which triggered a deep depression that lasted several years. This seemed like a topic that I wanted to address today instead of the usual celebrations of the day (Father's Day in the U.S.). Maybe someone needs it.
Psalm 142:5-7 I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.
This is written by Craig Edwards, a pastor whose Facebook page I read sometimes. I appreciated his ministry on Facebook very much for awhile and found much there that was thought provoking and encouraging. This particular one is an important reminder that depression is not a sin. While I do believe in a few instances it can be caused by devil possession, as in the case of King Saul in the Bible, there are many people who are suffering for other reasons.
I feel very strong about the post I'm about to make, and it's about DEPRESSION. Depression is the most disabling disease in all of North America, and second in the world.........and its growing. A couple of overwhelming symptoms are: 1. Detachment - from family, friends, and everyone else. You can be in a crowd, and still feel alone. 2. Guilt- you feel no one really loves you, and no one cares, and the world would better place if you were not in it. You feel like a burden to your family, and you feel like you're making their lives miserable!!! Remember, depression is a sickness. It's not being demon possessed or crazy, but a disease. If you handle it recklessly, or ARE HANDLED recklessly, it makes it worse. I know [because] I live it, and I'm GLAD!!!! I've been able to reach out to, and help people that, according to their own words, wouldn't be here today. God has allowed me to suffer from depression for a purpose, that's far bigger than myself. I've been able to show, and teach others that there is LIFE and HOPE , after and during depression. The fulfillment I've experienced, by being able to help others, is worth the criticism. Others don't get it.....and you know what......I hope they never have to learn the hard way!!!!! God bless you all!!! I love all y'all !!!
Whenever I hear someone say that Christians shouldn't be depressed or have anxiety and/or that they shouldn't need any medication for it, that all they need is the Bible, I feel sick. It scares me for them because I know how God chose to teach me the hard way, and it has been the hardest and longest lesson I probably ever had to learn. When I was young I had the idea that only people who weren't "right with God" had depression or things like that. I was very self-righteous about it. But the Lord took me through some very hard times to show me the folly and vanity of my thinking. These times sometimes recur for me because it's a lifelong illness for me.
Friend, please don't judge others in things you don't understand like this. If God decides to make you go through it in order to correct your puffed up thinking, you will suffer things you really don't want to suffer. I say that with deep personal conviction because He did it to me. I don't wish that lesson on anyone. I would much rather that Christians show compassion and kindness to one another, even in things hard to understand.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another...
If you are dealing with depression or an anxiety disorder, I really encourage you, as always, to get help. Ask God to lead you to people who will help you, not hinder you, in learning how to live through and beyond these difficult health problems. You need encouragement, not judgment. You very likely need a doctor. Remember Matthew 9:12, But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. There are many causes for both depression and anxiety and related conditions. With time and effort and the leading of the Lord, you will find ways to help yourself - and others, as Bro. Edwards talks about - because we don't live unto ourselves as Christians.
Romans 14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
Painting by Edmund Charles Tarbell.