Read Nehemiah 2:1-3 And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, that wine was before him, and I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. 2So the king said to me, “Why is your face sad though you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart.” Then I was very much afraid. 3I said to the king, “Let the king live forever. Why should my face not be sad when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies desolate and its gates have been consumed by fire?”…
Speaking up about depression brings about change! Remaining silent keeps us stuck with our own limited resources. But, what do we do when we are depression spills over at work? Is it worth the risk sharing our struggle with our boss, our coworkers?
Nehemiah’s job left no room for mistakes. He was the cupbearer for Artaxerxes, a powerful king who would not have tolerated down cast servants in his court, even if they were friends. But, today when he punched his time card for work, his mind wasn’t on serving the king, it was on the ruins of Jerusalem and the king can tell something is not right. Nehemiah has just finished fasting and praying for help in the 1st chapter. Could the king be the answer to his prayer? He is afraid because his depression is now exposed to his boss. God has given him favor with the king, but is it enough?
With depression comes possibility. Things are not okay! Maybe there are legit reasons why we mourn. There is so much suffering and oppression in the world, and our depression is the chasm between our reality and how the world should be. The quicker we acknowledge our desire for relief, the sooner resources come. Certainly Nehemiah’s is down cast for good reason. Israel is in ruins and in chapter 1 he declares that it is because Israel turned their back on God. He cries out to God. He doesn’t try to dismiss his anguish, or put on a happy pretend face which might have kept him safe. He risks speaking the truth. The king gives Nehemiah charge over rebuilding the city walls and gates and even sends letters for materials to be provided. Change occurred because of Nehemiah’s depression was out in the open!
The whole world suffers from depression. Those of us who recognize things are not as they should be have an opportunity to make the world a better place. Since Adam’s fall into sin, we went from walking with God, to hiding, from enjoying the good things given to us to despising, and from satisfaction in God alone to seeking position, possessions and power to determine our worth. There is not a single human being or animal that was not affected by the curse of sin and death. Since depression is the natural state and consequence of our disobedience, what hope do we have?
Nehemiah. . .
- Acknowledged—took note of—his reality
- He mourned and laid out his heartache before God
- He fasted and prayed
- Shared his burden with his friend, the King
- He spoke up
- The king provided
- He trusted God and began to rebuild
What makes us sorrowful? Depression is a good only when we allow it to motivate us towards change. I am aware that some of you who follow my blog are in daily pain physically and emotionally. There seems to be no relief from what you are experiencing. My heart aches for you. Don’t lose heart, don’t give up! Take one step today to open yourself to God’s resources. Nehemiah’s burden didn’t just appear over night, the ruins of Jerusalem were years in the making (a product of their rejecting God, and being taken captive by Babylon). I promise you that God is faithful, and I appreciate your honesty! May the exposure of our depression bring resources to rebuild our lives and those around us.
My son’s death has opened my heart wider for others who are tempted to despair. God has placed me in the unique position of experiencing abuse, suffering depression,chronic physical pain, and bearing overwhelming loss. Like Nehemiah I cannot hide my sorrow. So do I speak boldly of the need for our hopelessness to change? Yes, I may get some push back, but it is so worth speaking about suicide. Depression is a heavy weight on my spirit and I refuse to share it alone. Resources are coming! Don’t stop crying out!