A lot of people struggle with depression and anxiety. Some struggle more than others, and some even seem so magical that they have never had to deal with the feelings of loneliness and hopelessness. Either way, I think that if you have lived long enough you can attest that you feel sad and lonely sometimes, whether it be for a few hours or a few years.
“…for I am in distress; my eye is waste in grief; my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.” Psalm 31: 9-10
David in the Bible went through periods of depression and expressed his feelings in his psalms. David is one of those Bible writers who gets me. He is great at expressing his emotions of sadness and depression. Psalm 31 is one that has spoken to me most recently. Not only does it explain his hurt, but it also explains how to deal with the hurt. This psalm lays out a guide almost of what to do when depression and anxiety start to overwhelm you.
First, we need to run to God. Verses one and two tell us that God is our refuge and deliverer. We need to run to Him and then talk to Him. We should always run to God as opposed to other things or people. Only God has the power to save us and give us hope. The next thing David does is praise God: “I will rejoice and be glad In Your steadfast love…” (verse7). This seems like the opposite of what you should do, right? Well if there is one thing you have to remember about God, it’s that He like the opposite things. Praising God amidst the sorrow is rewarding. It reminds you of His faithfulness in the past, and that He has the power to do great things again and again. Thanksgiving softens your heart and opens it to receive God’s comfort. Another thing to remember is that God wants to comfort you! You just have to be open to Him and realize that he is right there. The actions laid out in this psalm are a battle plan against depression: go to God, praise Him, Trust Him, and acknowledge just how big and powerful He is.
The last verse in Psalm 31 is very important. It is also one many people never follow through on. I know I have been guilty of this in the past, and I have come to see just how important it is to follow up all the previous actions with this one:
“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” Psalm 31:24
We have to wait for the Lord, being strong and courageous, because He has overcome and will lead us out of the valley we feel trapped in. You may not have to wait long in the valley, but you also might be there for a while. The running, praising, and trusting are not quick-fixes. They are a daily process that is designed to grow our faith in Him. It’s all part of God’s plan, we just have to trust Him. I have learned that it is in these times of waiting that we grow closer to God if we trust in His leading. I believe that God gives us times of waiting, because He wants us to draw near to Him. He wants us to trust Him!
So whether you are struggling with pain and sadness, or you are not, or maybe you are one of those people who is so past the point of struggling that there is not a word to describe your condition, take heart that your Heavenly Father is here and wanting you to just come to Him and trust in His goodness.