Lamentations 3:22-23 - The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
Many people live quietly in desperation—unhappy with their lives, fearful of the future, and yet certain there has to be more to life than what they're experiencing. Even more people have occasional periods of deep depression, where life seems to lose its savor, and it's hard to do even daily tasks.
These periods of depression are not uncommon even for Christians, and they do not automatically signal the loss of one's faith. Some people think Christianity is supposed to quickly solve all our problems. To admit, then, to being downcast or fearful or troubled would be showing great weakness or sin, or so some would think.
This is not so, however. Even mighty figures in Scripture battled depression and despair. Read about Elijah in 1 Kings 19 when he wanted to sit down and die because of loneliness and dismay with his ministry. Listen to the writers of Psalms 6, 38, 88, 102, and elsewhere. They were terribly downcast and speak of their questionings, even to God. Think, too, of the apostle Paul who admits his weaknesses and distresses in 2 Corinthians 11.
We are saints through Jesus Christ, but we are also sinners in a sinful world. The way out of depression and doubt opens up for us only when we admit our weakness and despair—as the biblical writers did. We'll never conquer life's depressions by denying that we have them.
Remember the God you have and the beautiful promises He makes to you. The whole Bible trumpets the fact that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. God reached down into this damaged world for the very purpose of lifting up broken and downcast people. Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead for our future benefit in heaven; He also did it so we might have hope now in this world.
Consider passages like 1 Peter 1:3-5 which speak of the living hope that God has for your future and mine in union with Christ. If God is so confident about us, can we not also press on in faith, no matter how desperate life seems at the moment?
It was this remembering of the love and mighty deeds of God that helped David in his worst times (see Psalms 13:5-6; 25:15-21). Meditating and resting on the promises of God in Christ can be another step out of depression and anguish.
Also remember that you don't have to deal with your problems alone. Jesus promises, "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28), and He is faithful to His promises.
This is our greatest hope—to entrust our lives to the One who gave His for us, so that we may live in victory over this world. In this, Jeremiah (another biblical figure who endured great hardship) reminds us that God is near—especially in times of trouble: "I called on Your Name, O LORD ... You came near when I called on You; You said, 'Do not fear!'" (Lamentations 3:55a, 57).
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help us when we're full of worries and slipping in our faith to call on You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, February 1978 issue, "Depression: A Prescription for You" by Rev. Jim Barton
1. Do you battle bouts of depression and low feelings?
2. How can it be said that God's mercies are new every morning?
3. Have you ever helped someone who was greatly depressed work through their problems?
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"