Summary: Ever wish life came with an instruction manual? We’ve all come to those points in life when we wonder where we can turn for answers to life’s tough problems. Fortunately, God has given us the roadmap for making the right choices in life.
How to Deal
Part 2: How to Deal with Depression
Key Scriptures: Jeremiah 20:7-18
Intro: Did you know that even Christians get depressed? The prophet Jeremiah can share with us tremendous insights about depression in the Christian’s life. The other day, I saw the comic strip, “Hagar the Horrible.” Have you ever seen Hagar? Poor guy. In the strip, Hagar was trying to pick up his depressed friend. And he’s trying to encourage him and so he says, “Today, the world dumped on you. Today the world humiliated and abused you. But remember, tomorrow is another day.” And with that advice, his little friend just falls down on the ground and weeps.
-There’s a few things I want you to understand about depression this morning. First of all, it’s an ancient problem. It’s not something that has just developed in our lifetimes. People have been dealing with it for ages. The psalmist even asked the question to his own soul, “Why art thou downcast within me, O my soul?” He looked deep down inside of himself and said, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I so depressed?” Maybe you’ve asked those same questions.
-A couple of other things I want you to understand about depression is that it is a universal problem and it’s no respecter of persons. It doesn’t just come to the lower classes of people or people who have lost their jobs or people who are poor.
-I love learning about the life of Winston Churchill. During WWII, he would come on the radio and encourage the people to never give up. You maybe know about that. How he would tell the British people to stay encouraged and brave and courageous. But maybe what you don’t know is that when that radio was turned off, the great Winston Churchill was known to sink into deep depression for days at a time.
-If you read about great preachers of the past, you’ll come across the name of Charles Spurgeon. He was probably the greatest orator and preacher that had ever graced a pulpit. And yet, his life was filled with depression. He even talked about it, to others. Here’s something he is quoted as saying about depression:
“Before any great achievement, some major depression usually comes upon me. Such was the case when I first became pastor in London. My success appalled me, and I thought of the career which seemed to open up so far from me, lading me, cast me down to the very lowest steps, until I uttered my misery and found mo room for Gloria in excelsis. Who was I that I should be needed to lead such a great multitude? I would rather go to a village of obscurity or immigrate to American and find a solitary nest in the backwoods where I might be sufficient for the things that are demanded of me. It was just then, when the curtain began to rise upon my life’s work, that depression set it, and the Lord was preparing me for a larger blessing in my ministry.”
-Hey, go through God’s Word. You’ll find that for many of the greatest men in the Bible, depression was a huge part of their life experience. Moses asked God to take his life. So did Job. After his experience on Mount Carmel, Elijah asked that he would be slain. Jonah wanted God to down with him after Nineveh. And Saul, King of Israel, was so depressed that he not only eventually lost his own life but those of many of his advisors.
-But of all the major characters in the Bible that went through depression, I want to focus this morning on the life of Jeremiah, because more than any other, his life gives us a picture of what happens to a Godly person when they’re depressed. Jeremiah 20 is where we’ll be this morning.
-One thing that I want you to know about this passage before we read it is that when he was writing this, Jeremiah probably didn’t think anyone would ever read it. When you read the book of Jeremiah, especially chapter 20, it almost feels like you’re breaking into his diary. He writes as if God is his only audience. So he tells God exactly how he feels. And this is how he feels:
Scripture: Jeremiah 20:7-18
“O LORD, you deceived [a] me, and I was deceived [b] ; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. 8 Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long. 9 But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. 10 I hear many whispering, "Terror on every side! Report him! Let’s report him!" All my friends are waiting for me to slip, saying, "Perhaps he will be deceived; then we will prevail over him and take our revenge on him."