Summary: If you have experienced depression and despair then you are not alone. Some of God’s greatest saints have felt the cold darkness surround them and yet they found His hand lead them out of the darkness and into His glorious light.
Coming Out Of The Darkness
I felt it creeping in. I hadn’t eaten all day but I felt heavy. My heart hung low within me. I couldn’t muster the energy to lift the corners of my mouth to smile. The darkness was so heavy I couldn’t lift my arms to free myself. Friends tried to console me, but my heart was silent. I tried to fight but I wore myself out and collapsed into a dark hole. Fear gripped me and I wasn’t even sure what I was afraid of? It seemed like I was growing afraid of everything. News reports made me leery of those around me. Health reports caused me to wonder if I would come down with some horrible disease. Financial reports made me worry if I would lose my job and end up on the street. What is happening to me? I know in my head that I’m making this mouse out to be a monster. I know that I can’t live my life in fear of what "could" happen. I know that my problems are not overwhelming, but why am I overwhelmed? I know that I can manage, but why does my life seem so unmanageable? I really don’t have anything to be depressed about, not now any way, but why am I so down? I know that I should hang in there, but oh if I could just get away. If I could just leave this world of sorrow and sadness and fly away...away from it all. A man named David wrote in his journal one day.
4 My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. 5 Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. 6 I said, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest- 7 I would flee far away and stay in the desert; Selah (Psalm 55:4-7 NIV)
Can you relate at all? Have you ever felt the darkness of depression close in around you so that you felt like the walls of the world were caving in on you? Have you ever felt that the blues were bullying you to the extent that you could hardly function? Have you ever felt guilty that you were depressed while so many others have things so much worse than you? Have you ever felt anguish rush over you like a mighty river? Have you ever been terrorized by the thoughts that surely you were about to die? Have fear and trembling ever beset you, held you in their clutches until you couldn’t breath?
Isn’t it strange how there are a zillion things that can bring on the emotions of depression, fear, feelings of being overwhelmed, and despair. Elijah experienced the greatest victory of his life, as he stood strong for the Lord, and yet before the crowds were nestled in bed that night he was running for his life in fear and cried out to God, "Just take my life." (1 Kings 18-19)
For the Hebrew slaves they were experiencing freedom for the first time in their lives as God delivered them from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh. Yet, as they marched in their freedom on the way to the Promised Land, they were so discouraged and depressed that they literally convinced themselves that the land flowing with milk and honey was behind them and not before them. (Numbers 16)
Sometimes we experience wonderful victories and some time later feel depression slip around us like a python. There are times that the unknown paralyzes us and causes us to withdraw in fear. Other times we go through gut wrenching, heart shattering experiences and feel depression pulls us under. For Job he had lost it all, everyone that he loved except his wife, and she proved to be a detriment instead of a delight later on in his suffering. He lost everything that provided security for his family. He lost his health as disease racked his body. I’m sure that there were times that Job thought he was losing his mind. In the whirlwind of despair Job says,
1 "People have a hard task on earth, and their days are like those of a laborer. 2 They are like a slave wishing for the evening shadows, like a laborer waiting to be paid. 3 But I am given months that are empty, and nights of misery have been given to me. 4 When I lie down, I think, ’How long until I get up?’ The night is long, and I toss until dawn. 5 My body is covered with worms and scabs, and my skin is broken and full of sores. 6 "My days go by faster than a weaver’s tool, and they come to an end without hope. 7 Remember, God, that my life is only a breath. My eyes will never see happy times again. (Job 7:1-7 NIV)