“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance, and my God.” Ps. 43:5, NASB
Sitting alone in the woods, she contemplated taking her life. It wasn’t the first time she’d thought that way. Hopelessness flooded, despair engulfed. Yet healthy fear hindered. SomeOne reoriented her thoughts. Praise God for His glorious grace, perfect patience, and lasting love! As He protected that young wife and mother, He continued His work in her as Philippians 1:6 promises,
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
That young woman was me. You might be surprised–shocked–to learn this, thinking, “Doesn’t she love the Lord? I thought she had it all together. People like her don’t deal with things like depression.”
Truthfully I believe many do. While that specific situation occurred about 15 years ago, I’ve experienced brief bouts of depression, “a state of feeling sad,”* throughout my life. At age 15 I underwent a desperate faith crisis, significantly struggling for a couple weeks. Thankfully our family doctor assured me God is real.
Indeed, God IS real! HE IS THE ONE who continually has sustained, comforted, and transformed me over the years. Joyfully I share that God has delivered me from repeated pits of despair and harrowing holes of hopelessness. I’m not sure precisely when or how–it’s been a gradual process. But I DO know that my God comforts, sustains, heals, and delivers.
God is to us a God of deliverances; And to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death. (Ps. 68:20)
Though not completely privy to God’s wise methods, I am aware of some practical ways He’s accomplished my healing. Graciously the Lord led me into:
- Regular Bible reading, including listening to Him speak directly to me through His Word. Sometimes this involved reading until at least one verse or phrase resonated with me. Other times I read out loud–God’s Word spoken aloud amazingly soothes and strengthens.
- Intimate connection with Him through prayer … and I mean pouring out my hurts and hopes with tears–all the works! Not exactly pretty, but effective nonetheless.
- Understanding that hopelessness and despair displayed through recurring crying episodes do not please Him. This took a long time to realize, and it’s definitively not a declaration to bottle up feelings and just handle them in a “good Christian girl” manner. What I’m talking about is the place we sometimes go … and stay–wallowing in our sorrows, listening to and accepting the enemy’s lies. Unfortunately this pattern existed in my life until God lovingly exposed it and kindly led me to repentance.
Through these seemingly simple yet monumentally meaningful ways, God has worked and continually works within me. Lovingly He comforts. Consistently He restores. Faithfully He sanctifies. And always He reminds me of His love … for me.
Dear one, perhaps this message describes you. Maybe you periodically fall into hopelessness and despair. Despite your love for God and commitment to Him, circumstances repeatedly propel you into depression. Life need not remain this way! GOD IS the God of comfort, hope, power, and victory! Freely, faithfully He extends grace, displaying His strength in us (see 2 Cor. 12:9).
… Send out Thy light and Thy truth, let them lead me…
Respond by agreeing:
… Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy. (Ps. 43:3)
Truly the light of God’s presence dispels depression’s darkness.
Undeniably depression DOES hurt–sometimes excruciatingly so. But GOD unfailingly holds His own … comforting, sustaining, healing, and delivering. Blessed be the name of the LORD!
NOTE: If you’re trapped in a pit filled with paralyzing sorrows or strong suicidal inclinations, PLEASE pursue Christian counseling and necessary help. YOU are valuable and God deeply loves you.*Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, 341