The world is full of self help books on how to overcome depression, anxiety and despair. According to most publications that are available today, these afflictions are caused by physical and psychological problems that originate in chemical imbalances and physiological abnormalities. According to the One who created us, the reason for these difficulties are not physical, they are spiritual.
Our hearts and minds are the methods by which we are able to think, feel, and express our feelings. When the mind is in conflict due to unresolved issues, the heart responds with sadness and despair. One of the greatest causes of depression in human life is unresolved guilt. When we say or do things that we know are not correct, we build up a debt of remorse in our mind. If we have had terrible things said or done to us by other people, and the feelings that flow out from these traumas, are unresolved, a sense of guilt also ensues. Guilt is not necessarily caused by our own actions, they can also accumulate when unjust actions are committed against us. Over time, this mounting guilt builds until we can no longer cope with the burden. We begin to feel hopeless, helpless, and are filled with sadness and despair.
Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad. Proverbs 12:25
God was fully aware of this fact of human life, as He created us with the ability to understand the difference between right and wrong. In order to purge our feelings of guilt, He provided a very simple means, whereby, we can empty these feelings of guilt and gain a fresh start. By simply coming to the Lord in humility, and sincerely seeking His forgiveness, He has the power to cleanse us of all guilt and anxiety.
All that we must do is to REMEMBER the Lord
I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. Psalms 34:4
In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; My soul refused to be comforted… And I said, “This is my anguish; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.” I will remember the works of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds. Psalms 77:2, 10-12
People who do not believe this principle will call this method “foolishness,” and “religiosity.” In fact, in practice, it is the only sure method for relieving the difficulties of depression and anxiety that is suffered by many human beings. All of the drugs and psychotherapy in the world can never address the true, underlying spiritual needs that every person has in their life. We were not made to handle the stress and difficulties that this life presents to us. We were made to enjoy a life of perfection and beauty, where our God is the source and provider of all that we need. We were made to be loved and cared for. We were created to know God and have fellowship with Him.
How can I be so certain about these statements? I have lived this life, myself.
Depression is a part of my family heritage. My father suffered for most of his life with depression. He self medicated and took the drugs that were given to him. He never overcame his depression. It was not until the final year of his life, when he was ready to receive Jesus as His Savior, confess all the hurts, regrets, and sins of his life to the Lord, that he finally found relief.
I have also felt the effects of depression. I have had many, many moments when I have felt overwhelmed by sadness and fear. In all of these cases, because I have a very close and personal relationship with Jesus, the first thing that I do when depression begins is to REMEMBER the Lord.
I open up my Bible and begin to read the Psalms of praise to God. I read the comforting words of Jesus that He spoke to all those who love Him. I pray and tell the Lord about all my sadness, doubts, fears, and concerns. I remember all the times of my life when I was in this same place and I cried out to the Lord for help, and He answered. I remember how much the Lord has done for me during the past 40 years. I remember how He has saved my life from sickness and death many times when Dr’s had held out little hope for my survival. I Remember the faithfulness of the Lord to get me through every trial and difficulty of life in the past. I remember that He will do the same in my present situation.
And He does…
Within a very short time, my depression leaves me and my joy and peace return. This has happened to me for more than 40 years now. I never went to a Psychiatrist. I never took any medication for depression. I never looked to the world or to men for my solutions, I looked to the One who made me and I have been delivered from these afflictions over and over again.
In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul. Psalms 94:19
David was the king of Israel. He is described as: “A man after God’s own heart.” David was also a man who made many mistakes during his life. He also had many people commit horrible acts against him. As a result, this king often felt anxiety, depression, anger, and despair. What made David a man after God’s heart was his willingness to admit his mistakes to the Lord and take personal responsibility for his actions. Today, many professionals seek to convince those who are afflicted with depression that none of their feelings are their fault. This very well may be true in some circumstances. In cases where we have said and done things in our life that we are ashamed of or regret, we are personally responsible for these actions. The good news is that God has provided a way of forgiveness for anyone.
This is the reason that Jesus came into the world; to forgive sinners. You and I are the people that Jesus came for. We are sinners, not because of what we do, but because of who we are. Sin, mistakes, wrong words, actions that hurt other people, are a result of the imperfect nature that exists within our heart. Jesus came into the world to change us from the inside out. At the moment that we confess our sins to Him and invite Him into our life; to be Lord over all of our life, we are transformed spiritually, into new people. At the moment we receive Jesus, our heart begins to change, which will result in different actions and words—over the course of time. We will not instantly be perfect people when we receive Jesus. We will begin to change, and continue to change—very gradually. This process will last throughout our entire life. At the end of our time here on earth, our body will die—but our spirit; the real part of our existence, will go on forever. Finally, at the end of this present age, the Lord will give us a new and eternal body that will be perfect in every way. It will never die; never grow sick or become old. At that time, we will begin to live the kind of Life that God has intended for us, all along.
A Psalm of David. Psalms 139
This is one of the most intriguing scriptures that is in the Bible. In this passage, David is writing about God, as He has revealed Himself to the king. David writes from experience. He writes from knowledge. He writes from wisdom. As the Psalm begins, David describes the Lord as knowing us so intimately, that He understands our very thoughts. When David says: “You understand my thought afar off,” he does not mean that God understands us, though He is far from us in heaven. The literal Hebrew language defines this statement as knowledge by God in our thoughts, before they even become thoughts. Before the synapses in your brain connect, God already knows what you are going to think. The reason that this fact is revealed to us, is given in the subsequent verses of this Psalm; God loves each one of us, so dearly, He is paying careful attention to us.
O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.
As this Psalm progresses, David will write that God is always with us, especially in the moments of our life when depression, fear, and anxiety overwhelm us. Even when we were first conceived in our mother’s womb, it was the Lord who fashioned us. He made us for a purpose. He designed a wonderful life for us. All that we must do is make it the purpose of our life to know Him.
You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
While in these moments of darkness, when hope is gone and it seems meaningless to go on, there is hope in the Lord.
He is there with us. He cares and He understands. If we will only call upon the Lord when these moments of despair enslave us, we can find relief. The answer; is to remember the Lord and understand that He knows us so well. He understands what it is like to feel the way you feel. In the most difficult moments of Jesus’ life, all of His friends had abandoned Him. His enemies laughed and mocked Him. They spit in His face, tore out His beard in handfuls. They beat Him in the face until He was unrecognizable as a man. They tore His body to shreds and nailed Him to a Cross. All this, when He had done nothing wrong. Jesus permitted this to happen because He wanted to pay the cost for our salvation, so that we could all be free. Jesus took our punishment and bore our guilt so that no person who believes in Him will have to bear their own guilt. There is freedom and forgiveness in Jesus.
All that we must do is call upon the Lord
“Dear Lord Jesus, I want to be free from this terrible Depression and the Anxiety that I feel. I want to live a life of Joy and experience true Peace. I understand now that you promised to take away all the guilt, regrets, pain and turmoil of my life if I will call upon you now. Jesus, please forgive all my sins and come into my heart. Be the Lord over my life and allow me to live a new life, centered on you. Thank you for dying for me. Thank you for loving me so much. I surrender my life to you at this moment. I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.”
When David was in a similar place of despair, He remembered who the Lord is and what He has done for us. He recited these words to himself, and also to us today. These words are an ever-present reminder that we are not alone and that we can find relief for our depression, sorrow, anxiety, and despair—in the Lord’s Love.
For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You. … Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:1-24
If you are one who has suffered from depression and have found relief for your suffering in a new relationship with Jesus, will you please share your experience here in a comment, so that other people might be helped and encouraged.