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Summary: The creeping of depression can prevail when you embrace the iniquity of your past and reality of a faint spirit are no longer as strong as they once were.

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Looking for a Blessing on Empty

Psalms 31:9 Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly. 31:10 For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed. 31:11 I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me. 31:12 I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.

Introduction

Last week we looked at David, again this week we have him up for consideration as the primary of today's subject from a different stand point

The church is God's hospital. It has always been full of people on the reform. Jesus himself made a point of inviting the lame, the blind, and the possessed to be healed and to accompany him in his ministry, an invitation often spurned by those who thought they were fine as is. We should not be surprised, then, that the depressed populate not only secular hospitals and clinics, but our churches as well. Yet depression remains both familiar and mysterious to pastors and lay church leaders, not to mention to those who share a seat with depressed people.

Virtually everyone has experienced a "down" day, often for no clear reason. We might say we "woke up on the wrong side of the bed," are "out of sorts," or just "in a funk." Such polite references are commonplace in America. Yet as familiar as melancholic periods are to us, the depths of a severe depression remain a mystery. We may grasp in part the distress of King David: "Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak" (Ps. 31:9-10). But most of us have no idea what David meant when he further lamented, "I am forgotten by them as though I were dead" (v.12). Severe depression is often beyond description. And when such deep and painful feelings cannot be explained, they cut to the heart of one's spiritual being.

Some Americans find their everyday reality so tough that they try to escape it via substance abuse, sexual promiscuity, petty theft, or embezzlement. Consider substance abuse. Nearly 15 percent of Americans will struggle with alcoholism in their lifetimes, and over 10 million Americans are actively using illicit substances. Among those who are dependent on opiates such as heroin or prescription pain relievers, depression rates may be as high as 50 percent. Though depression can lead to increased substance use, the much more common path is for substance use, often begun as an escape from the pressures of life, to lead to serious episodes of depression. At that point a vicious cycle ensues, as depression leads to increased substance use, and substance use to worsening depression. 15 percent of Christians suffer from depression and is now the second common cause of disability and it is expected to become number one in the next five years.


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