I’ve recently completed my newest book, Seeing Depression Through the Eyes of Grace. It’s a rewrite of something I wrote many years ago that came from my own experience with depression. There have been two distinct times in my life when I fell into depression. The first time, I knew I was more downcast than I had ever been before. The second time, I didn’t realize I was “depressed” until almost a year had gone by.
We all may experience dark feelings of depression from time to time. They may come with the change of seasons from summer to fall and fall to winter, the birth of a new baby, the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job. You may feel depressed because of a relationship that has gone bad or a divorce. If you are a woman, you may feel depressed before, during, or after your monthly cycle. Sometimes depression seems to have no cause at all, which can be very frustrating to the person who is experiencing it and looking for answers and relief.
“No matter how hard I try; things never seem to change. I am so discouraged. I see no hope in anything. I know God is there, but He is silent. I know He hears me but has chosen to ignore me and my desperate pleadings. I just don’t know if I can deal with this anymore. I have no real reason to feel this way and I just can’t seem to get past it. I want to give up. I want to be out of my misery.”
Once while a friend and I were talking, we came to this conclusion: For each of us, the circumstance or situation that brings us to the point of depression or any other trouble in life is merely an instrument used by God to cause us to hunger—to come to the table of His grace and His healing Word. If you are suﬀering from feelings of depression, consider that you are being led to the banquet feast of God’s Word, to the riches of His grace.
Although an explosion of depression seems to have hit our society in recent years, depression is not unique to any person or point in time. The Old Testament in the Bible includes numerous Psalms containing words of deep grief and sorrow. In Psalms 22, 25, and 27, the psalmist (King David) clearly seems to be in a state of depression. He speaks of groaning, being desolate, aﬄicted, and crying. His words are so descriptive that you can almost see him suﬀering.
Listen to my pleading, O LORD. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” Do not hide yourself from me. Do not reject your servant in anger. You have always been my helper. Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me, O God of my salvation!”
Psalm 27:7-9 (NLT)
Perhaps you feel like that today.
A depressed person may believe he or she is under God’s wrath or being punished. Be assured that if you are a believer, God will never turn His face away from you, nor will He ever turn away from you in anger. You are a child of His by grace. God’s pleasure rests on you because of Christ. Your feelings are not “punishment” by God for sin you committed in the past. I can say that conﬁdently, knowing that because of Christ’s work on the cross, we have been justiﬁed; we have been made right with God. His wrath has been propitiated, or satisﬁed.
You can rely on God to accomplish the good works that He began in you. This season of depression is just one part of your life in Christ and has never been out of His control. His desire for you is that you change from what you once were to the person He has prepared for you to become in Him.
He has done the hard part: He has given you peace with God, given you a new life, and placed His Spirit within you. You now have the opportunity to live out your transformation—to cooperate with what God intends to do in and through you to those around you.
This time in your life is no accident; it is a divine appointment, and God intends to do something through it. I trust God will continue to give you grace and mercy on your journey!