For many suffering from depression and their caretakers, ” I just want to die!” are the most painful words to hear and say.
Do we freeze with fear when we hear those words? Do we dismiss them as manipulative? Are we on our knees petitioning day and night for relief, as I was for Jonathan? How do we escape this painful pit of depression that often accompanies living difficult and painful existence? Who do we turn to for help? How can we combat an unseen enemy that so successfully tears our lives apart? Where is God in this pain?
Scripture is clueing me in to God’s response to our spiritual health questions:
1 Kings 19:4But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.”
- From Elijah’s struggle with depression I know that God allowed him to run away
- God interacted with Elijah “What are you doing here?”
- He fed, provided water and allowed Elijah to rest
- God acknowledged that the journey was to great for Elijah
- He commanded Elijah to go back the way he had come (stop running away)
- Provided a companion to take over
- Did not take his life
- Sometimes the only way of breaking through depression, mental illness and suicide is to cry out to the one who knocked down the walls of Jericho, made a child defeat a giant, and came to us in the form of a tiny baby to set us free from sin!
- We aren’t talking the now I lay me down to sleep prayers, but the prayers that sweat blood, and wrestle with God expecting blessing–expecting Him to answer.
Ruth 1:…16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. 17“Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” 18When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.…
- Stand with the depressed
- Go with them wherever they journey
- Love God
- Risk leaving the known to venture into the unknown
- Make it clear that you are with them all the way
Nehemiah 2:2 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?”…
- Speak up about what depresses us.
- Acknowledge what we see in our friends.
Psalm 143:…6I stretch out my hands to You; My soul longs for You, as a parched land. Selah. 7Answer me quickly, O LORD, my spirit fails; Do not hide Your face from me, Or I will become like those who go down to the pit. 8Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.…
- Cry out to God
- Be real with him
- Listen for his love
- Allow him to teach you the path through depression
Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 42:11 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.
- God does not change and therefore we can count on his faithfulness no matter our failures
- Praise is not dependent upon feeling
1 Samuel 16:23So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him.
- Music can soothe the soul
Questions I plan on asking myself:
- What am I doing in my depression?
- Am I allowing God to provide food, water, and rest?
- Am I confessing my fears?
- Am I isolated?
- Am I remembering?
- What am I listening to?