Depression is one of the most common mental health issues. Approximately 1 out of every 6 people will experience depression at some point in their life. Often the results are significant and, in the extreme, may lead toward suicide.
It would be good if Christians were immune to experiencing depression but we are not. I know this from experience. I know what long dark nights are like. I know the feelings of confusion and ‘lostness’ that so often accompany bouts of depression. I also know that I am not alone. God is with me even when it doesn’t feel like it. And through this experience I have learnt a valuable lesson.
God is still trustworthy.
It sounds like a platitude to say God is in control. I don’t mean it to be. What I want to say is that even when I don’t understand, or like, what is happening God is still trustworthy. I can cry out to him because he is trustworthy. And even though it sounds trite, his sovereignty is something I cling to. For me it says ‘I may not like what I’m going through, but I know God is with me.’ It helps me to see that God is at work even when it doesn’t feel like it. Even more important, it helps give me hope.
Like so many Christians who experience depression, I treasure the passage in Revelation 21 where it says Jesus will wipe away every tear – where there will be no more sickness, sorrow or mourning. It’s these passages that give so many hope. It helps us realise that this world is just a shadow of the life we have in Jesus. We may not see it in the present, but Jesus promises to not only remove the cloud of depression but restore us fully. It helps us to be able to cry out ‘Come Lord Jesus.’
Echoing a lost cry.
This is something that characterised the early church but in my experience isn’t echoed very often in our churches. I don’t really know why. I suspect it’s because for so many life is so good. We don’t have the same struggles that believers had in the past. We tend to have comfortable lives. But my experience with depression has removed the ‘comfort’ of life and caused me to long for restoration. It has caused me to join with early Christians in crying out ‘Come Lord.’
I can only do this if I believe that God is in control. The certainty of Revelation 21 is only a certainty if God is in control today. This is challenging for me. I want to know why depression haunts me the way it does, but God doesn’t tell me. I want it to lifted, but God doesn’t lift it. I want the joy-filled life that we are so often told Christians have to have. I struggle to experience this. Instead I seem to walk a much harder road but the One who leads me is faithful and will lead me through toward Revelation 21.