Monday, June 2nd, 2014
Christian Pitfalls (Part 9)
I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long... I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart.
Psalm 38:6-8 (NKJV)
I have known depression, where the darkness of a pit seemed my only home. I have known listlessness, where the brushing of my teeth seemed my only move. I have known despair, where the contemplation of my demise seemed my only comfort.
I have known psychologists, whose words did not help. I have known family, whose ties did not hold. I have known friends, whose smiles were not real. But I cannot compare my afflictions to Job or David. Whatever I had, they had it worse... and rose to the greatest heights of their times.
Job described his depression well: 'My complaint is bitter; My hand is listless because of my groaning. Oh, that I knew where I might find Him... Look, I go forward, but He is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him' (Job 23:2-3,8-9).
Even so, Job trusted God: 'He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold' (v.10). Ditto David: 'The Lord is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer' (Psalm 18:2).
Both Job and David tried to understand the reasons for their depression. David said it was 'Because of grief' (Psalm 6:7), 'Because of evildoers' (Psalm 37:1), 'Because of my sin' (Psalm 38:3), 'Because of my foolishness' (Psalm 38:5), 'Because of the turmoil of my heart' (Psalm 38:8), 'Because of the enemy' (Psalm 44:16), 'Because of affliction' (Psalm 88:9) and 'Because of trouble' (Psalm 107:26).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: When you consider the troubles experienced by Job, David and every Bible hero, the reasons for them vary. I believe why we are depressed is less important than how we are saved. The 'How' is Jesus, and He'll show you 'the why' in His Own time. Remember: God always delivers.
Even the best among us stumble. If you do, keep your chin up. You're in good company. It won't last long: God says, 'Though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His Hand' (Psalm 37:24).
In the meantime, consider these treatments for depression: 1) Turn fully to God. If you strayed, repent; 2) Stay in God's Word; 3) Stay in prayer; 4) Keep good company; 5) Avoid bad company; 6) Stay active. Help other people; 7) Stay hopeful--no matter what; 8) Believe God--no matter what. Help is on the way.*
9) Remember: Depression is a test, and it's temporary. Once you pass it, you will be promoted. 'Before any great achievement, some measure of depression is very usual' (Charles Spurgeon).
To Be Continued...
* 'The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit' (Psalm 34:17-18).
* 'Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest' (Matthew 11:28).
* 'For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope' (Jeremiah 29:11).
* 'You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness' (Psalm 30:11).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Christian Pitfalls series.