Job 30:15“Terrors are turned against me; They pursue my honor as the wind, And my prosperity has passed away like a cloud. 16“And now my soul is poured out within me; Days of affliction have seized me. 17“At night it pierces my bones within me, And my gnawing pains take no rest.…
What do we do when loved ones are giving up on life? Is there such a thing as secondhand depression? Yes, I believe that there is. Like Job’s wife, do we respond, “Curse God and die.”? I don’t think she said those things because she hated Job. I believe she had given into fear. Fear of the circumstances, fear of the onslaught, and fear of loss. She was like Ruth’s mother-in-law, telling her people to no longer call her Naomi, but to call her Marah (Bitter). We are asking, what kind of God allows this kind of suffering?!
The last year with Jonathan was hard! His personality changed so completely that sometimes he said awful things to us. He refused medical care, and he fought mightily with a desire to give up. I was on my knees crying out to God so many times that I was often horse. At moments the fear of losing Jonathan was more tangible than God’s presence, and I struggled to love. Fear and love cannot occupy the same space; fear is a cancer, mimicking normal cells of concern so that we don’t fight its systematic takeover of our ability to love. But fight we must! I don’t mean strive and claw our way out of depression, I’m talking about LETTING GOD FIGHT FOR US. Only when I finally handed Jonathan’s wellbeing over to God could I finally love my son, come what may. Those last few months were the best they could be between the two of us.
Mother Theresa and the Sister’s of Charity ministered with love, to those often cursing back at them as they were dying. I have been studying her character for a while, and I am learning how much depression is based on control and conditions. I want to be in control and I am depressed when I am not. We want to be loved back! But oh the power to change the world, when we love from the vantage point of the cross. Are you in the midst of loving someone who may never love you back? Well God has been doing that since the creation of the world. For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son. That whosoever believes in him, shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16) That kind of love is the model for how we are to love those who are struggling with depression. Accepting His love which has no possible repayment is the cure for secondhand depression. Loving like Christ is productive suffering!