Christians and Depression

By Jon Srock on December 1, 2019

HCC Monthly Harvest Seed

Psalm 43:5 - Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.

When we lived in the Northwest, in Portland, OR and Walla Walla WA, I became aware of the term – Seasonal Affective Disorder. (SAD)  The Northwest coast is known for its beauty, but it is also known for its rain.  Many people do not realize that the Northwest corridor actually gets as much rain as a rain forest.  It can be dark and gloomy during the rainy season for weeks on end; because of this, many people suffer from depression that is seasonal.  The truth is that a great cure for this is some sunny days and time spent outdoors.

I have found that even people who do not suffer from clinical depression will have seasons of their life that are depressing.  Even Godly, capable people will go through seasons of life where they are down and can’t seem to get out of the funk.  There may be reasons for it like hardships, difficulties or a season when you are on the go so consistently that you do not have time to really rest.

For some, depression hits during the Christmas and Holiday season. They may be missing a loved one or dealing with the financial hardships and expectations of family or making everything perfect. Depression robs us of joy, steals our energy and can keep us from living a fulfilling and productive life.  Some of what we are experiencing is spiritual, some of it is passed down through families and some of it is caused by the situations of life.  Some depression is the result of our sinful choices and we are reaping the consequences emotionally.

With God’s help, we can deal with the SAD and make it through our season and out of the valley.  Psalm 23:4 - Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

One of Satan’s greatest tricks is to get us thinking that we are the only one that struggles with seasons of discouragement and depression.  He will show us the perfect happy lives that everyone seems to be having all around you.  Listen, everyone struggles at times.  Everyone has hardships in life.  The perfect life you think others have is only because you do not see the complete story of their lives.

It is estimated that one in eight men will have a severe battle with depression sometime in their life.  It is estimated that one in three women will have to fight this battle.  Women are twice as likely as men.

One thought on this is that women tend to “feel” their sadness and that men tend to “act” out their depression.  Sometimes when men are depressed, they do not feel SAD, but they become irritable or angry.  They may also immerse themselves in work or adrenaline activities.

Some “religious” people will tell you that if you struggle with depression then you must be involved in some kind of sin and God is punishing or withdrawing from you.  Some will tell you if you had enough faith then you would pray more and suddenly just snap out of it. Others say if you had more faith you would live on the mountaintop and be victorious and never feel down.  These are Job’s comforters and on behalf of all who have struggled we would like you to keep your unbiblical opinions to yourself!   It is important to remember that we were not designed for the mountaintops.  Most of our living is done in the valley.  Valleys are where the fruit is. Sometimes valley’s get deep and overcast but the air on the mountain top can get mighty thin. 

Someone said - “When you are working through depression, you do not lack faith. It is your faith that keeps you going.  What you lack is hope.” People who regularly struggle with depression are very often holding tightly to God.  When David was in his SAD season, he reminded himself to hope in God.  Remember, faith is the substance of things hoped for.  When you lack hope, remember that, as long as you have faith in God, you have the substance of what you are hoping for is made of.

Life is full of seasons.  If you are always waiting for another season you are going to miss out on the blessing of the season you are in.

Learn to adapt and live in the season you are in.  Make peace with the season – not the pain.  Somehow, we think that Spiritual lessons just come.  They just happen.  No, they are learned.  That is ok.  Here is good news, you CAN learn how to do your season of SAD well.  You may never just snap out of it any more than you can snap your fingers and change the weather.  Learn how to make the most of the season.  There is beauty - even in the SAD seasons.  David learned how to do it and so can we!

May you and Your family have a very Merry Christmas

Pastor Marvin & Dawn

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