“I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; and I mused, and my spirit grew faint.” (Ps 77:1-3)
A few weeks ago pop star Demi Lovato was hospitalized for drug overdose. She has shared about her struggles with depression, bio polar disorder, drug addiction and cutting herself. Depression affects millions of people resulting in feelings of guilt, worthlessness, lack of interest or pleasure in activities previously enjoyed and even suicidal thoughts.
Many celebrities struggle with extreme sadness and depression. People that you would think have everything are actually very unhappy and hopeless. Katy Perry grew up in a Christian home, admits to struggling with very emotional lows for long periods of time. Lady Gaga confessed she takes medication because of her life struggle with anxiety and depression. Kristen Bell, who played Anna in the movie Frozen, said she has depression since she was in college. The list goes on…Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Naomi Judd, Michael Phelps, and Robin Williams.
The Bible reveals leaders who struggled with despair and depression. Elijah asked for his life to be taken. Jonah was deeply despondent when God did not destroy Nineveh. The mighty prophet Jeremiah regretted the day he was born. Job’s wife encouraged Job to curse God and die because of his suffering and pain.
The despondency and persistent feelings of sadness affects many people. This disease does not discriminate. It affects how we think, feel and behave, and sometimes causing emotional, functional and physical problems. I am not an expert on depression by any means and don’t have an all-inclusive perspective. But I know about human behavior and Biblical application to life’s hard problems. So medications and psychotherapy are ways of treating depression but what about things like faith hope and love? Those who do not have faith in God have no one to turn to for help and comfort. They are left to their perpetual negative thoughts that are in alignment with the devil’s plan to destroy them. Where is the hope beyond medication and psychotherapy?
Jesus in our lives gives us hope for better moments, better feelings and better thoughts. Without Him there is no one to stop the pain and the sadness. With out God’s love and the comfort of the Holy Spirit we are alone in the dark.
If you or someone you know feel moments of depression I want to encourage you It is not over. There is hope, and there is a better day coming. “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Ps 30:5 NIV) It is temporary. What about trying your best to change your thoughts.
The Bible says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Prov 17:22 ESV). Another way to say that is “being cheerful keeps you healthy. It is slow death to be gloomy all the time.” (GNT)
Of course depression can come with traumatic events like the death of a loved one, a serious accident, or a severe sickness. There are also spiritual attacks of darkness that paralyze you and bombard your mind with negative thoughts. However, despite all of this God’s Word is true.
Asaph sang of feelings of anguish and apathy. “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; … Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory… My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Ps 73:22-24,26) NIV
David turned his depression by changing his thoughts.“Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” (Ps 77:10-12)
Then David made proclamations, most likely out loud. “Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples…(Ps 77:10-15 NIV)
I encourage you to stir your faith toward God. Realize there is hope because God loves you deeply and dearly and is with you. Then think on Him and His faithfulness, goodness, remembering what He has done for you. Then proclaim God’s virtues, His character and you will find faith, hope, and love arising in your heart and soul. Then the joy, happiness and peace will come. Despair will go in Jesus name.