Summary: Practical helps from God’s wisdom for dealing with depression.
DEALING WITH DEPRESSION
II Cor. 12:1-10
INTRO.- ILL.- A businessman on his deathbed called his friend and said, "Bill, I want you to promise me that when I die you will have my remains cremated."
Bill said, "And what do you want me to do with your ashes?" He replied, "Just put them in an envelope and mail them to the Internal Revenue Service and write on the envelope, ‘NOW YOU HAVE EVERYTHING.’" What a depressing thought!
ILL.- A teacher said to her students, "Boys and girls, there is a wonderful example in the life of the ant. Every day the ant goes to work and works all day. Every day the ant is busy. And in the end, what happens?"
Little Johnny said, "SOMEONE STEPS ON HIM."
Brothers and sisters, I think that many of us feel like we have been stepped on our entire lives by some people and certain circumstances. But we are not alone in our depression! The people of the Bible also experienced it.
ILL.- Moses was the depressed leader of the people of Israel. Every time he turned around, they griped about something. "We need water." "We are starving." "We want food, but we hate manna." If you were surrounded by a bunch of chronic complainers it would be hard not to be depressed.
ILL.- Job was depressed. He lost everything, then cursed the day he was born: "Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?…. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil." Job 3:11, 3:26
ILL.- David was depressed: "Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long?…. I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears." Psalm 6:2-3, 6
ILL.- The apostle Paul was depressed. In II Corinthians 12 we are told that Paul was given a thorn in the flesh to perhaps keep him humble. BUT PAUL DIDN’T LIKE THAT THORN! No one likes thorns sticking in their side or in their spirit! Paul said it was a messenger of Satan, to torment him.
ILL.- Commentator Warren Weirsbe wrote, "We do not know what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was. The word translated thorn means ‘a sharp stake used for torturing someone.’ It was a physical affliction of some kind that brought pain and distress to Paul. Some think that Paul had an eye affliction according to Gal. 6:11, but we cannot know for sure.
"We do know that God permitted Satan to afflict Paul, just as He permitted Satan to afflict Job. Satan cannot work against a believer without the permission of God."
ISN’T THAT A COMFORTING THOUGHT? Satan is harnessed and God will pull back on the reins whenever He sees Satan trying to get carried away.
Brothers and sisters, almost everyone deals with depression in some form or another. Depression, however, is not the end of the story. GOD’S PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE TO LIVE IN A DARK WORLD OF DEPRESSION! God does hear our cries and answer our prayers!
David said in Psalm 40:1-2 "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire."
In regard to Job, it says in Job 42:12 "The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first." God blessed Job with prosperity and gave him twice as much as he had earlier in life. Job 42:10-17
And God comforted Paul and cared for him by saying, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weaknesses." II Cor. 12:9
ILL.- Warren Weirsbe said, "God did not give Paul any explanations. Instead, He gave him a promise. WE DO NOT LIVE ON EXPLANATIONS; WE LIVE ON PROMISES!"
God’s promise to Paul was: MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT. My grace is strengthening. God was going to bless Paul with whatever he needed to both endure and live the Christian life.
God’s promise was a sure thing for Paul and for us, as well. We must believe. We must trust. And we must ask.
Brothers and sisters, depression in any form is not dandy. But with God’s help, blessing and grace it can be handled and overcome.
PROP.- Let me share some practical things from God’s wisdom that can help you deal with your depression no matter how strong or simple it is.
I. STOP COMPLAINING
ILL.- A man said to a waitress, "Do you serve breakfast here?" Waitress: "Sure, what will it be?"
Man: "Let me have some watery scrambled eggs. Some burnt toast and some weak coffee."