In continuing my current trend of adding to (mooching from?) the posts of my fellow blog writers (as opposed to sharing original thoughts), yesterday I read Rebekah L’s post When Sadness Creeps In. Then I proceeded to text her with my every opinion on the topic. Through her replies and our discussion, God revealed even more. This resulted in two things: 1) a serious need for a better text plan; and 2) a reason to rejoice in the Lord all over again.
As I was reading it, I relived my own struggle with depression, and how my ability to cope with it is directly tied in to my spiritual walk. I also realized that I know of two kinds of sadness in the Bible. The first is the sort one would feel after having a bad day or being hurt by somebody. The second is a more pervasive, weighty sorrow that I associate more with true depression. Yes, it existed. But one thing I’ve noticed is, depression in the Bible does not usually stand alone. Usually, depression goes hand in hand with a time of intercession.
The more I thought about it and went to God with it, the more it just started to make sense. Someone whose heart has been bruised and battered, who has felt pervasive sadness and pain and loss, can look at someone who’s lost and relate to them. Showing Jesus that person becomes less about talking at them about who Jesus is and what they should do to get closer to Him, and more just connecting with their heart. Someone who has been both enveloped by depression and enveloped by the peace of Jesus Christ can reach a lost person on such a deeper level. They can look at this lost person, see where they’re at, and join them there in love – because they know that place. They can also look ahead to where Jesus is; they can see the road that needs to be traveled and the light at the end of the tunnel. Someone in the midst of deep pain can’t necessarily see a way out of it. But someone who has been through it can. And that someone can bridge the gap on such a deeper level than somebody who doesn’t relate to the emotions being felt. That’s what deep intercessory prayer does – we stand in the gap for someone who needs a breakthrough of Jesus. And how much more heartfelt our prayers are when our compassion and love comes from a place of true understanding!
That is the way God would have us use our depression – as a way to draw closer to Him, more dependent on Him, and then ultimately, while He does protect us from our past He also uses it to make up the vessel we are. He is amazing that way – we may not be proud of where we’ve been, but He ensures that we didn’t go there for no reason, that our suffering wasn’t pointless. Thanks Jesus! This, in case you didn’t notice, is the reason to rejoice that I mentioned above. Having traveled the road we have and taken the hits we have, we can now be the exact vessel Jesus needs to use. Maybe someone whose vessel is shinier and less chipped isn’t right for this particular task. And Jesus knows that – He made each of us, after all. Our deepest, darkest moments turned out to be useful. Praise God!
This is why it’s really too bad that so many of us feel shame and guilt over our struggles. I believe this negativity is a lie from Satan himself. He reads our cues, multiplies our sorrow, and tries to turn it into a time of self-doubt and self-loathing. Often, he succeeds. Jesus would have this be a time to draw closer to Him, and instead we hide from Him. Jesus would have this be a time when we use our pain to relate to the pain of others so that we can love deeper and start to see with God’s heart. Satan would have this be a time to pity ourselves or get bogged down and chained by the weight.
So when sadness does come, please don’t hide. Besides, even if you do, Jesus still sees you. But He can’t help you unless you open your heart up to Him and let Him in. Transparency can be key here. When you feel ashamed by emotions, I implore you to suspect a trap. Find a friend you can confide in – yes, you open yourself up to judgement when you discuss yourself. But you also open yourself up to prayer and support, which gets you through it so much faster and grounds you again in your true identity as a servant of Christ.
My prayers are with you. If you’re struggling with something specific and want prayer for it, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. God bless!