God’s Presence in Times
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“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you; do not be discouraged.”—Deuteronomy 31:8
Unless you’ve gone through depression, it is difficult to comprehend how terrible it is. Finding healing is not easy, and it takes time. No one has all the answers. But these are some helpful things to remember if you are a Christian walking through depression or if you know someone who is.
You are not cut off from God. The ultimate friend we find in our pain is Jesus Himself. He wept for us. And on the cross, He experienced separation from God in its fullness. Our Savior knows what it means to suffer darkness. But when you are experiencing a mental health crisis and feeling isolated, it’s very easy to forget that God is literally within you. …
Jesus promised His followers the gift of the Holy Spirit—God within them—as His way of providing peace and guidance to them every day of their lives. If you have placed your trust in Jesus, that same Spirit lives within you. God literally could not be closer to you in whatever you are experiencing. …
The Bible provides many examples of people experiencing depression, darkness, and frustration with God. He is not angered by your honest words. God wants your relationship with Him to be authentic. … God can handle your doubts, frustrations, failures, and darkest moments because He is astoundingly gracious. He loves you through it all because that’s simply who He is. …
The good news is that your relationship with God depends upon His unchanging faithfulness and not on your changeable emotions. “God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’”1 “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”2…
If you are suffering from depression or another mental illness, know this: God cares deeply when you suffer. You are in pain, you may wonder where God is. He is right there with you, just as He always is, whether or not you can feel it. Even if you are so depressed that you cannot put your prayers into coherent words, God understands. God hears the cries of your heart and is with you. As Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”3
If you’re depressed, tell someone. Tell a doctor, friend, family member or counselor. Please do not suffer alone.—Elizabeth Clayton Lee and Mary Keith4
Tips for coping with depression
Depression can be very debilitating. If not managed and overcome, it can drastically affect your spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being. Depression can build over time to the point where it seems like just about everything that happens adds to the depressing thoughts and feelings that are like a cloud, blocking your view of a more positive reality. The challenges, setbacks, fears, and worries start merging, to where life starts looking gloomy and you begin to feel that there’s no hope.
Taking our battles and problems to the Lord and asking Him to help and guide us is always a first step whenever we are struggling in any areas of our lives. Often in the busyness of day-to-day life, we don’t take enough time to stop, pray, think, meditate, reflect, and search our hearts. So on top of feeling gloomy and sad, when depression hits, the person affected may not even know why they feel that way. That’s why it’s important to seek the Lord for His guidance and help in such times of need.
When people feel depressed, they may not feel like doing anything, so it can be very difficult for someone in the throes of depression to be able to think clearly, concentrate, read the Word, and hear from the Lord for His guidance and help. A tendency is to just try to forget the depression once it’s lifted somewhat. But that’s a good time to seek the Lord for His advice, encouragement, and help in overcoming and making forward progress. He has the solutions to everything we face in life—even in times of the most muddled confusion.
One of the most difficult and disconcerting things about depression is that you often can’t put your finger on what’s wrong or why you feel so deeply discouraged. People experiencing this know something’s wrong, but they don’t quite know what or why. They often feel down, sad, disillusioned, muddled, frustrated, or confused, and can’t figure out what is happening.
Depression undermines your emotional and mental well-being‚ and can be even more detrimental than physical illnesses are, because, as the Bible says, “A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?”5 For this reason, people who are battling depression need the support and encouragement of others.
There are many things that can trigger depression or contribute to it, such as a personal loss or tragedy; major setbacks such as a job loss, medical conditions, afflictions or chronic pain; relationship problems, stress and anxiety; menopause; changes in sleeping habits, lack of sleep or poor sleep. People suffering from depression are often tempted to feel that the problem is with themselves. They may begin to feel that they are the problem, and that their situation is hopeless, or that their life is useless. Left unchecked, depression can undermine a person’s happiness and hinder their faith.
Whatever the cause‚ attacks of depression are not to be taken lightly, and it is important to take the necessary steps to manage it and overcome it and to provide help and support to others in our lives who experience it. If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, it is important to ask for prayer and seek help from others.
Regardless of the struggles we face in our life journey, we have the assurance that God’s supernatural grace and the peace that passes all understanding is real and is there for us to take refuge in.6 The Bible says that there is a time and place for everything,7 so we have the sure knowledge that even if we’re “abasing” now and facing tough times, it won’t be that way forever. The Lord knows your every need, and He will not fail to supply and care for you as you continue to hold on through the storms and trust Him.
Look to Him for comfort and guidance and have faith that there is hope in any situation. There are no limits to His love and the miracles He can perform to bring fullness of life to each and every one of His children.—Maria Fontaine
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”—Ephesians 3:17–198
A prayer for battling depression
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You never change, even when everything around me is changing and unpredictable.9 Thank You that You are stable, even when I feel so very unstable. It feels like Satan has been whipping me around! Please sustain me, protect me, and enable me to stand…
Please lead me to the right source for help. Thank You for understanding what I am going through,10 and thank You that Your Word tells me that even Your Son went through hard times emotionally. There were times that He was distressed, grieved, faced loneliness, experienced deep sorrow, and after the death of John He went into isolation.11 He cried in prayer,12 and at times He was overwhelmingly sad.13 …
Thank You for the grace that You have provided.14 I pray You will use this difficult time to cause me to go deeper in my relationship with You. … Thank You for how You are going to use this time in my life and for all You are doing through this depression. Thank You that You have allowed my weakness to manifest itself in the form of depression, so that You can work more of Your image into my life.
Thank You that I am not defined by this weakness. Since I am Your child, I am defined by what You accomplished on the cross. Because of Christ’s death on the cross, I can wake up every morning and live life knowing that no matter what I do, think, say, or feel—the cross covers it. Because You offered up Your own beloved Son, I can have peace with You and can face each day with fresh hope and grace. Help me to focus on what is true, and not focus on how I feel. As I sit before the cross, help me to gain a new appreciation for what it actually means for me on a daily basis.
Help me to embrace my weakness as a gift. Remind me that my weakness allows You to work through me even when I am so very weak and feel as though I can do nothing.15 Through this time, I pray that You would enlarge my heart that I might love and obey You, and love others more deeply. Amen.—Gina Smith16
Published on Anchor September 2022. Read by Lenore Welsh.
Music by Michael Dooley.
1 Hebrews 13:5 NLT.
2 Romans 8:38 NLT.
5 Proverbs 18:14 ESV.
6 Philippians 4:7.
7 Ecclesiastes 3:1.
9 Hebrews 13:8.
10 Hebrews 4:15.
11 Matthew 14:13.
12 Hebrews 5:7–9.
13 Isaiah 53:3.
14 Hebrews 4:16.
15 2 Corinthians 12:9.