Devotion: Coping with Depression
April 16, 2020
“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice.” Psalm 130:1
Depression can be our worst enemy as we are isolated from one another, sitting in our rooms or houses, day after day, waiting for something to change. The four walls seem to close in on us, the news repeats gloom and doom over and over again, we run out of things to do, and we yearn to see in person the faces of the people we love. Those who have struggled with depression know how it can feel like a heavy weight on the chest and how it casts the world into shadows; how it can make everything seem negative and make you feel worthless; how you just want to curl up in your bed and put a pillow over your head and never get up. It can make you feel like you are going crazy and that everyone looks down on you. It may seem like you are in a tunnel with no light in the end.
I say all of this to you not because I am trying to make you more depressed, but because if you are struggling with depression I want you to know that you are not alone. I once went through a very serious depression. During that time I read a lot of books that people had written about themselves going through depression. It helped me feel not alone and it helped to see that other people had gotten through it taking one day at a time. There are a lot of people struggling with depression as we go through this strange period of time where we are quarantined. It is really understandable.
The Psalmist lifts up a cry to the Lord in Psalm 130. We don’t know what is wrong – he doesn’t tell us – but he pleads for God to hear his voice crying out from the depths. And then the Psalmist says this: “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope... O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem.” When we are depressed and stuck in a situation that seems out of our control, we spend a lot of time waiting. What is soul-killing is to wait with no hope in God’s faithfulness to you, no hope that God will bring you out of the darkness. We don’t know if the Psalmist’s problem was fixed but what he tells us is far more valuable. Somewhere in the depths he found hope in God’s steadfast love and this is what sustained him in the darkness. When I was depressed I needed other people to tell me about this love at times because I could not feel it myself. So I am here to tell you to hold on because you are being held in God’s embrace as you go through this period of time. The love of God overcomes all darkness. To get through my depression I had the help of doctors and therapists but most important help for me was my faith, supported by loved ones and friends. In the waiting, I chose to hope in God’s steadfast love. We do have the power to make that choice even when we aren’t feeling it. Faith isn’t always a feeling; sometimes it choosing what to believe in spite of what we are feeling.
Prayer: O God of the covenant, you do not break your promises with us. We pray that no matter what we are going through, we may find hope in your faithfulness. Amen.