Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
“Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:19-23).
“Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness…” Obviously these are the words of one who struggled with despair and depression. After all, the writer of Lamentations begins chapter 3 by asserting, “I am the man who has seen affliction because of the rod of His wrath” (3:1). Depression. It is the common cold of emotional disorders. At any given time, 17 percent of the population suffers from it. It is more than the occasional feeling of the blues. It is a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal. It is sadness greater and more prolonged than anything one who has not experienced it could ever imagine. It can even be incapacitating on occasion. And the believer is not exempt.
Some of the great biblical characters wrestled with depression. At one point in his life, Moses wanted to die (Exodus 32:32). While struggling with his suffering, Job “cursed the day of his birth” (3:1). Furthermore, he cried, “My spirit is broken, my days are extinguished, the grave is ready for me” (17:1). Elijah was incapacitated with depression soon after he had been an integral player in one of the greatest demonstrations of God’s power (1 Kings 19). Even the great prophet Jeremiah (who also wrote Lamentations) declared, “Why did I ever come forth from the womb to look on trouble and sorrow?” (20:18). How is the Christian to respond?
As a mental health professional, I work with people everyday who are depressed. Some were abused as children. Others are depressed because they missed their “dream” in life. Still others have suffered loss over which they had no control. And finally, there are some who cannot point to any particular reason for their depression. How should the Christian respond? Well, it is never appropriate for one believer to look at another believer, who may be struggling with depression, and indicate that it is their “lack of faith” that is the cause of their depression. Furthermore, the Christian who may be struggling with depression should not feel guilty because they cannot seem to “hold it together.” Even Jesus was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3).
The Christian should respond to depression by remembering that it is God who gives strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. The Bible says, “This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:19-23). This is the word of the Lord!
One Christian brother I know said this: “I am a Christian who has struggled with depression for a long time. I am finding it hard to face each new day. My wife and I want to have children but are unable to. I don’t understand why God is allowing this. And I don’t like this feeling of not being in control. But I choose to believe that God is sovereign…that He is in control. I choose to believe that each day, His mercies are new…Great is His faithfulness!” Indeed, there is strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow!
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