Longing for light in the darkness.

DEPRESSION

Longing for light in the darkness. 

Depression isn’t a surprise to God and doesn’t disqualify us from making an impact for the Kingdom. Hold onto hope. God is here.

…although I dwell in darkness, the LORD is my light. Micah 7:8 MEV

Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world.

ABOUT DEPRESSION

Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world. Globally, more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression.

For example, in the US, depression is the primary reason for suicide, accounting for approximately one death every 12 minutes. An estimated one-third of people with chronic illness experience symptoms of depression.

In addition, the umbrella of depression includes mood disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder, and suicide.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?

A PRAYER FOR DEPRESSION

Dear Loving Father,

Right now, despair envelops me. Hopelessness makes me think I’ll never smile or be happy again. It’s as if there is a high humidity in my heart that leaves me gasping for breath, sapping my energy, draining me of motivation for things I normally enjoy. I’m stumbling in the dark, afraid I’ll fall, without anything to light my path. I’d have to stand on tiptoe and reach way up just to touch bottom.

But I still believe in You, Father, or else I wouldn’t voice these feelings to You.

Penetrate my darkness with Your light. Eclipse my weakness with Your strength. Replace my pessimism with joy and with a deeper trust in You that generates hope for the future. Keep reminding me of who You are, what You have done for me in the past, and what You have promised for my future.

And somehow, please redeem this pain.

Use it to wean me of self-sufficiency so I serve You in a way that can only be explained by the words, “God did it!” Let others see Your power working in, for, and through me so You, rather than I, get the credit for anything I might accomplish.

Father, I have nowhere to look but up, but show me why that is a great place to be. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 IN THE DARKNESS OF DEPRESSION

 

In the darkness of depression, God is with us even when we cannot feel Him. Certainly, the twelve words of Micah 7:8 are truth we can speak to our hearts when despair eclipses the light: Though I sit in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.

 

UNLESS YOU GO THROUGH IT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND DEPRESSION

 

Michael Wilkes writes, “I thought I knew enough about depression as a pastor seeking to minister to those who had walked through it. I thought I understood their battle. But honestly, I did not have a clue, and to everyone who might read this – unless you have gone through the dark valley personally – you will never fully know what that person is feeling … Depression isn’t something that jumps on you like a mountain lion in the woods; it is more like an anaconda that slowly chokes the life out of you.”

 

SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION

  • Feeling sad, tearful, empty, or hopeless
  • Angry outbursts, irritability, or frustration over even small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, including intimacy, hobbies, and sports
  • Changes in sleep – insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Exhaustion, a fatigue that knocks you off your feet, making even small tasks require extra effort
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss or increased appetite and weight gain
  • Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness
  • Thinking, speaking, or moving slowly
  • Feeling worthless or guilty, stuck on self-blame or past failures
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things
  • Thoughts of death, including suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Physical symptoms such as chest pain, back pain, stomachaches, joint pain, or headaches

 

HOW PEOPLE DESCRIBE DEPRESSION

  • “I feel like I’m walking underwater.”
  • “There is a pane of glass between me and everyone else.”
  • “Everything seems like it is going in slow motion.”
  • “It’s a black hole.”
  • “I feel like I’m suffocating and can’t breathe.”
  • I’m numb. I don’t feel anything at all.”
  • “Everything is gloomy, dark, and lonely.”
  • “Depression can feel like a thick fog that clouds your mind, saps your energy, and distorts your reality, so you can no longer see anything good.”

 

DEPRESSION LIKE OTHER ILLNESSES MAY NOT BE HEALED IN THIS LIFE 

 

“Grace relieves but does not always cure depression … Just as a man with asthma or a woman born mute will likely remain this way even though they love Jesus, so our mental disorders and melancholy inclinations often remain with us, too. Conversion to Jesus isn’t heaven, but it’s foretaste. Though substantive healing can come, often it waits till heaven to complete its full work.” Zack Eswine, Spurgeon’s Sorrows

Depression is an illness that affects every part of you – body, mind, and soul.” Heather MacLaren Johnson, Psy. D.

 

BIBLICAL ACCOUNTS OF GOD’S PEOPLE WHO STRUGGLED WITH DEPRESSION

 

Throughout the pages of Scripture, we encounter the stories of faithful, godly men and women who struggled with depression – King David, Jeremiah, Elijah, Job, Hannah, and Naomi – to name just a few.

 

KING DAVID BATTLED DEEP DESPAIR

 

He often cried out in anguish, lamenting his sin, broken by his guilt, and grieving the loss of his sons. In Psalm 13:1-2, David cries out, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?”

Other times, David questions himself then leans into what he knows to be true: “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:11

 

DAVID, A MAN AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART

 

The Lord, Himself called David “a man after his own heart,” in 1 Samuel 13:14, KJV and in Acts 13:22 KJV, when He says, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart.”

But David was not side-lined by God or less influential for the Kingdom because he struggled with depression. In fact, David was both a man after God’s own heart and someone who suffered from depression simultaneously.

 

JEREMIAH WAS KNOWN AS THE WEEPING PROPHET

 

He experienced intense loneliness, constant rejection, and overwhelming insecurity. Moreover, he was ridiculed and rejected by the very people he had been called to serve. Jeremiah lived alone, ministered alone, and wept alone, lamenting, “Why was I ever born? To watch such tragedy? To feel such sorrow? To live my days in utter shame?” Jeremiah 20:18 VOICE

 

In Lamentations Jeremiah writes:

 

“He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light;
indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long.

He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones.
He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship.
He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead.

He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains.
Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer …

I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is.

So I say, ‘My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD.’”

Lamentations 2: 2-8, 17-18

 

GOD STILL USED JEREMIAH EVEN IN HIS DEPRESSION

 

Yet God said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; and I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:4-5 MEV A few verses later, Jeremiah writes, “Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, ‘Now, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms ..” Jeremiah 1:9-10

Jeremiah was intensely lonely and deeply depressed and in the very messy midst of it all, Jeremiah was powerfully used by God exactly as he was, maybe precisely because of it.

 

ELIJAH WAS WEARY, DISCOURAGED AND AFRAID

 

After a stunning spiritual victory, Queen Jezebel placed a bounty on Elijah’s head. Fearing for his life, Elijah left his servant and fled 100 miles into the desert, where he sat in the shade of a broom tree, exhausted and defeated, and said, “I have had enough Lord … Take my life …” 1 Kings 19:4

But Elijah, the man of God, was not prevented from becoming discouraged. While he had had enough, yet the One who was with Elijah on Mount Carmel, and the One who was with him when he received the death threat, was also with him under the broom tree.

 

GOD CARED FOR ELIJAH

 

“All at once an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.’ So he got up and ate and drank.” 1 Kings 19:5- 8

While the journey was too much for Elijah, he was fortified by bread and water straight from the Hand of God and accompanied by Him every step of the way, Elijah journeyed for 40 days to Mount Horeb, the mountain of God. God knew exactly what Elijah needed. And He knows exactly what we need. God did not equip Elijah ahead of time, but let Elijah deplete his own meager resources first. Then when Elijah was at the absolute end of himself, he was ready to receive and equipped to continue the journey.

 

JOB SUFFERED THE DEVASTATING LOSS OF ALMOST EVERYTHING

 

He lost his sheep, servants, oxen, donkeys, camels, every one of his children, his home, his wealth, and his health – all but his life and his wife. Dr. Roger Barrier describes Job as “a twisted mass of brokenness and grief.”

In despair, having also suffered immeasurable loss, Job’s wife cries, “Do you still cling to your integrity [and your faith and trust in God, without blaming Him]? Curse God and die!” Job 2:9 AMP

 

FINALLY, JOB, A MAN OF GREAT FAITH, SINKS BENEATH THE WEIGHT OF CATASTROPHIC LOSS

 

“Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.” Job 3:1

“Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?” Job 3:11

“Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, to those who long for death that does not come …” Job 3:20-21

“I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.” Job 3:26

 

GOD HAD A BIGGER PLAN

 

But God had a bigger plan. And He “blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. Then, he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and daughters … he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. Job 42: 12-13, 16

We can see such a small speck of God’s eternal plan. We do not know what the future holds. Indeed, not the next five minutes or the next day or the next year. The Bible reminds us that our suffering is for such a short time: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10 

 

NO EASY WAY THROUGH SUFFERING

 

There is no easy way through suffering. Yes, there is no short-cut through grief or pain. And even though there might be no restoration this side of Heaven, God always has a bigger plan, there is always more to the story. And God is always with us, present in every heartbeat, every moment, and every breath.

 

HANNAH WAS BARREN AND RIDICULED

 

Though unable to bear a child, Hannah was the wife most favored by her husband. Envious, the other wife, Peninnah, taunted Hannah year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.” 1 Samuel 1:7

Elkanah would say to her, ‘Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” 1 Samuel 1:7-8 

“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly.” 1 Samuel 1:10

 

GOD HEARD HANNAH’S PRAYER

 

In God’s own time and His own perfect way, He moved, and Hannah gave birth to the prophet Samuel. “And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD.” 1 Samuel 2:21

Even in the midst of her anguish, year after year, Hannah faithfully came before the Lord and prayed. And in His own perfect time, in His own way, and for His own perfect purposes, God moved.

 

NAOMI’S CIRCUMSTANCES WERE TRAGIC

 

After losing two sons and then her husband, Naomi, who genuinely loves her daughters-in-law, tells them, “Go back to your mothers’ homes. And may the Lord reward you for your kindness to your husbands and to me.” Ruth 1:8 NLT

Finally, not only depressed, but now bitter, Naomi says, “the LORD himself has raised his fist against me.” Ruth 1:13

Then her daughter-in-law Ruth reaches out in the language of comfort and says to Naomi, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16

 

 NAOMI’S SADNESS WAS OBVIOUS

 

“When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, ‘Can this be Naomi?’” Ruth 1:19

Don’t call me Naomi (meaning pleasant),’ she told them. ‘Call me Mara (meaning bitter), because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.’” Ruth 1:20-21

Underlying Naomi’s lament is a deep trust and understanding of God. She is not resentful of God and has not turned away from Him. Quite the opposite, Naomi is moving towards God with honesty. She has returned to Bethlehem, to the people of God, and is realistically presenting what happened to her … And it is in the midst of Naomi’s pain and lament that Ruth comes to know God. Vaneetha Rendall Risner

 

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Does it surprise you to learn that some of the great men and women of the Bible suffered from depression?
  2. How does knowing that affect you?
  3. How does that change your view of depression and mental illness?
  4. Whose experience do you most resonate with? Why?
  5. Where was God in each of these stories?
  6. Where do you see God in your story?

 

DEPRESSION DID NOT NEGATE THEIR FAITH

 

Though the reasons for God’s precious sons’ and daughters’ depression varied, their deep and abiding faith in Him did not.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

 

HISTORICAL CHRISTIAN LEADERS WHO STRUGGLED WITH DEPRESSION

 

“God uses broken people, like you and me, to rescue broken people, like you and me.” Pastor Eddie Cortes

Like the pages of Scripture, history is also filled with the accounts of men and women of deep faith, who suffered from sometimes debilitating depression.

 

JOHN BUNYAN 

“I am now a man of despair, rejected, abandoned, shut up in this iron cage from which there is no escape.”

 

MARTIN LUTHER 

 

“I spent more than a week in death and hell. My entire body was in pain, and I still tremble. Completely abandoned by Christ, I labored under the vacillations and storms of desperation and blasphemy against God. But through the prayers of the saints, God began to have mercy on me and pulled my soul from the inferno below … I dispute much with God with great impatience and I hold on to his promises.”

 

JOHN CALVIN

 

He wrote that true faith “clings so fast to the inmost parts that, however it seems to be shaken or to bend this way or that, its light is never so extinguished or snuffed out that it does not at least lurk as it were beneath the ashes.”

 

DAVID BRAINERD

 

On December 16, 1744,  he wrote in his diary, “Was so overwhelmed with dejection that I knew not how to live: I longed for death exceedingly: My soul was ‘sunk in deep waters,’ and ‘the floods’ were ready to ‘drown me’: I was so much oppressed that my soul was in a kind of horror.”

 

CHARLES SPURGEON

 

He wrote, “This depression comes over me whenever the Lord is preparing a larger blessing for my ministry; the cloud is black before it breaks, and overshadows before it yields its deluge of mercy.

Depression has now become to me as a prophet in rough clothing, a John the Baptist, heralding the nearer coming of my Lord richer benison. So have far better men found it. The scouring of the vessel has fitted it for the Master’s use. Immersion in suffering has preceded the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

Fasting gives an appetite for the banquet. The Lord is revealed in the backside of the desert, while his servant keepeth the sheep, and waits in solitary awe. The wilderness is the way to Canaan. The low valley leads to the towering mountain. Defeat prepares for victory. The raven is sent forth before the dove. The darkest hour of the night precedes the day-dawn.”

 

MOTHER TERESA

 

In her book, Come Be My Light, she wrote, “With regard to the feeling of loneliness, of abandonment, of not being wanted, of darkness of the soul, it is a state well known by spiritual writers and directors of conscience. This is willed by God in order to attach us to Him alone, an antidote to our external activities, and also, like temptation, a way of keeping us humble in the midst of applauses, publicity, praises, appreciation, etc. and success.”

 

DEPRESSION DID NOT NEGATE THE MINISTRY OF THESE CHRISTIAN LEADERS 

 

It did not change their impact on the world or God’s call on their lives. Depression was part of their stories, part of their lives, and part of their legacy to God’s people.

Depression doesn’t mean our faith is weak or that we aren’t fit for God’s Kingdom. It simply means that we too are affected by the Fall.

 

WHEN THE DARKNESS OF DEPRESSIONS DESCENDS  

 

REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE

 
You
are a child of the Light of the world, a masterpiece created by God for His own great glory. When you cannot feel His Presence, stand on the truth of those who have gone before you: King David, Ruth, Jeremiah, David Brainerd, Charles Spurgeon, and Mother Teresa, and know that in spite of the depression, in the midst of the darkness, maybe even because of the anguish that God is using you and your story too.

For God’s invitation is: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

God is with us in every situation, every circumstance, every heartbeat, and every single breath. We are not alone. Ever.

 

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT DEPRESSION

 

There are many misconceptions about depression, but a few are of special significance to Christians.

 

1. DEPRESSION IS CAUSED BY UNCONFESSED SIN

 

What is true? 

  • Studies on mental illness, which include depression, reveal a frequent connection to family history, and approximately 40% of diagnoses are due to genetics rather than external triggers or sinful choice.
  • Chronic illness, such as diabetes, thyroid disease, and multiple sclerosis, increase risk of depression. For many, depression is no more the result of personal sin than a birth defect, cancer, or the flu.
  • Godly men and women in the Bible experienced depression. We consider many of these heroes of the faith. Their laments reveal their strong and abiding faith in God in the midst of anguish and despair.

 

MENTAL ILLNESS IS A REAL ILLNESS LIKE OTHER PHYSICAL ILLNESSES

 

David Murray, author of Christians Get Depressed Too, writes, “We would never take this view (sinful cause/spiritual solution) when counseling people with cancer, strokes, broken legs, diabetes or Alzheimer’s. My default position is that physical problems are most likely the result of living as fallen creatures in a fallen world. Why should our default position with brain problems be any different? Are we saying that the brain, the most complex organ in our body, is somehow exempt from the effects of the Fall? Why should we always conclude that brain disorders are the result of personal sin?” 

Charles Spurgeon said, “No sin is necessarily connected with sorrow of heart, for Jesus Christ our Lord once said, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.’ There was no sin in him, and consequently none in his deep depression.” 

 

2. DEPRESSION IS THE RESULT OF WEAK FAITH

 

What is true?

  • Reputable studies link depression to physical and biological causes
  • Many heroes of the faith, including Martin Luther, David Brainerd, and Charles Spurgeon, bore exceptional fruit in the midst of, or maybe because of, their deep depression.

 

David Brainerd said:

 

“I was so overborne with discouragement that I despaired of doing any good, and was driven to my wit’s-end; I knew nothing what to say, nor what course to take. But at last I insisted on the evidence we have of the truth of Christianity … in some measure, and somewhat encouraged to find that God enabled me to be faithful once more.” 

 

TERRY’S STORY

During prayer time in an adult Sunday School class taught by Terry, he asked for prayer. He had been despondent for weeks – sad, less motivated, emotionally fragile, and longed for relief, or at least God’s sustenance so his full-time teaching ministry wouldn’t suffer. 

After the study, one lady stayed behind and asked, “Terry, have you been having your quiet time?” Terry assured her that his devotional habits had been strong in recent weeks, and that in recent days the unremitting emotional pain had started with Bible reading, prayer, and confession. 

DEPRESSION AND MY TIME WITH THE LORD

“For me,” Terry told her, “there is no correlation between the onset of depression and the quality of my relationship with the Lord. I can be in the vise-grip of depression when I’m in close fellowship with the Lord, or I can be happy on days when I neglect my time with Him.” 

She walked away, seeming unconvinced. While she meant well, her response exacerbated Terry’s despondency. Her solution was unrealistic and unbiblical. 

A strong faith and clinical depression are not mutually exclusive.

3. MEDICATION EXHIBITS A LACK OF FAITH IN GOD’S ABILITY TO HEAL

What is true?

“It is a dangerous and damaging misunderstanding that often leads people, especially Christians, to view medication as a rejection of God and His grace rather than a provision of God and His grace.” David Murray, Christians Get Depressed, Too

For someone suffering from severe, recurring depression, anti-depressants are no different than medications for thyroid disease, bleeding disorders, or asthma.

“Grace relieves but does not always cure depression … Just as a man with asthma or a woman born mute will likely remain this way even though they love Jesus, so our mental disorders and melancholy inclinations often remain with us, too. Conversion to Jesus isn’t heaven, but its foretaste. Though substantive healing can come, often it waits till heaven to complete its full work.” Zack Eswine, Spurgeon’s Sorrows 

 

3 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN YOU’RE DEPRESSED

 

1.  FAITH IS NOT A FEELING

Depression often makes us question whether or not God is faithful. Yet even when we cannot feel His Presence, even when we doubt His love, or question His faithfulness, God remains steadfast and true.

“But even if we are faithless, he will still be full of faith, for he never wavers in his faithfulness to us!” 2 Timothy 2:13 TPT

 

2. REMIND YOURSELF OF WHAT IS TRUE

Depression can make it difficult to think straight. Reminding ourselves of what is real and what is true gives us solid ground to stand on.

“So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.” Philippians 4:8 TPT

 

3.  SPEND TEN MINUTES A DAY IN NATURE

There are so many benefits of stepping out into creation:

  • Decreased cortisol levels
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Decreased depression
  • Increased serotonin levels
  • Decreased stress
  • Increased mental focus
  • Increased desire to interact with others

 

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:7-10 ESV 

 

6 WAYS TO HELP A FRIEND WHO IS STRUGGLING WITH DEPRESSION

 

1.  LISTEN WITHOUT OFFERING ADVICE

“There is a time to be silent and a time to speak.” Ecclesiastes 3:7b NCB
 

2.  OFFER YOUR HELP IN SPECIFIC WAYS

Such as: “I’m at the grocery store. Is there anything I can pick up for you?” or “I know things are overwhelming right now, what can I take off your to-do list?”

 “… serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13
 

3. RESEARCH CARE AND SUPPORT OPTIONS

Help your friend create a list of mental health providers, support groups, books, websites, and podcasts. Offer to help your loved one navigate insurance, fill out medical forms, and schedule appointments.

 “Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

4.  KEEP INVITING YOUR FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES

Remind them that it’s OK if they have to cancel at the last minute, that you care and that you’re not going anywhere.

“Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be firm, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NASB

5. CREATE A LIST OF EMERGENCY CONTACTS

Create a list of crisis hotlines, emergency response services, and friends or loved ones who will answer a call day or night. Hang it in a prominent and visually accessible place. And make a copy for yourself.

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2

 

6.  ENCOURAGE YOUR FRIEND OF LOVED ONE

Send an “I’m thinking of you!” email, call, or text every few days to remind them of how much they matter and how much you care.

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER

You matter.

And God is here, present in every moment, every heartbeat, and every breath. Always, He graciously gives us enough light for the very next step.

We long for light in the darkness. And the Light of the world is here, Immanuel, “God with us.”

Joy is here too, tucked into every difficult, numb, overwhelming, and aching moment of darkness just waiting to be discovered.

Lastly, Sarah Robinson writes, “[God] isn’t afraid of my depression. He doesn’t shrink from the darkness. God doesn’t lose patience with my pain.”

 

HOW TO SEEK LIGHT IN THE MIDST OF DEPRESSION

DEPRESSION ACTION STEPS

Depression Action Steps

TAKE CARE OF YOU

It can be difficult to see the light when your days seem to be filled with darkness. Sometimes it means taking small steps, choosing to believe that light exists even when it  feels impossible. While, self-care may not even be something on your radar or seem important, it’s important to God. You are important to God. Take it slowly, one-step-by-one-step. Think about and write down how you can take care of you.

GOD”S FAITHFULNESS

God is in this hard, lonely place with you and remembering His fathfulness, one-stone-by-one-stone, can encourage you. Looking prayerfully at the past and asking God to show us where His provision and care made a way for hope, can often sustain us during times when hope is running a bit thin.

BUILD AN EBENEZER

Build an Ebenezer • Remembering God's Faithfulness

Additional Resources

Discover meaningful ways to express the darkness and despondency that are hiding the light you long to see and feel. Often when we write our story in creative ways it can provide insights and hope that we may have otherwise missed. 

Allegory

Allegory

Allegory is a beautiful, artistic form of storytelling. Explore the difficult, painful, or vulnerable parts of your story from a safer distance and a different perspective.

LEARN MORE.

Lament - Crying out to God in prayer

LAMENT

Pushing our pain aside, hiding it, or feeling shame because of it, diminishes our human experience. If Jesus wept and cried out in anguish, why do we feel it is somehow faithless to honestly express lament?

LEARN MORE.

Poetry in a life with chronic illness.

Poetry • Ministry of Verse

Poetry invites us to notice and to explore – the symptoms, confusion, loss, grief, and uncertainty of chronic pain and illness; to collect the moments and small victories; and to discover God’s still small voice in brand new ways.

LEARN MORE.

Prayer for Depression

Living with depression is hard. Often finding and/or being a part of a community when depression is a constant companion can be even more challenging.

You’re invited to the Chronic Joy Prayer Pond, a community rippling with radical hope and compassionate change. A place where you can share your prayer requests. Whether a request, praise, lament, suffering, loss, hope, grief, or joy, each prayer ripples far beyond this day and the boundaries of our world.

 
How often we hear, “Prayer is the least I can do,” when in reality, prayer is the most we can do. 

Posts about Depression

Even More

Christians Get Depressed Too

Christians Get Depressed Too: Hope and Help for Depressed People

David P. Murray

Many Christians mistakenly believe that true Christians don't get depressed, and this misconception heaps additional pain and guilt onto those who are suffering from mental and emotional distress. The author exposes misconceptions some Christians have about the causes and treatments of depression.

Readers discover that depression is a complex problem that defies superficial answers and provides help and hope to those suffering from depression, caregivers, pastors, and churches.

LEARN MORE.

Bright Days Dark Nights With Charles Spurgeon: In Triumph Over Emotional Pain

Elizabeth Ruth Skoglund

Millions read the words of the great nineteenth-century preacher Charles Spurgeon without knowing that his ministry succeeded during seasons of overwhelming emotional pain and deep depression this great man of God encountered.

Spurgeon confronted emotional problems with an acceptance based on physical, emotional, and spiritual causes and cures.

LEARN MORE.

When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God–and Joy

John Piper

Even the most faithful, focused Christians can encounter periods of depression and spiritual darkness when joy seems to stay just out of reach. It can happen because of distressing circumstances, hereditary or other physical causes.

John Piper aims to give some comfort and guidance to those experiencing spiritual darkness. Readers will gain insight into the physical side of depression and spiritual darkness and what it means to wait on the Lord in a time of darkness.

LEARN MORE.

 

Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression

Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression

Zack Eswine

Fresh insights about Charles Spurgeon’s recurring battles with depression and the remedies that sustained the great 19th century British preacher.

Spurgeon is quoted concerning the nature and complexity of depression, and strategies for relieving it that he found helpful. The author uses Spurgeon to show how God’s Word sustains in the midst of depression.

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WHAT I’VE SEEN IN THE DARK: A Story of Depression and Faith

by Dr. Terry Powell, Columbia International University

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