For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast: ‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’ (Jeremiah 30:17)
The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. (Exodus 14:14)
I have battled depression.
At times it’s been a long, exhausting, and excruciating struggle, the type of struggle that brings you to your knees and makes you question everything you believe about God; the type of struggle that makes you realize there are real spiritual forces that want to destroy you.
I didn’t battle alone, though. God, my valiant warrior, has fought with me and for me.
If you are struggling with depression, friend, let me speak to your heart and testify that you have God’s full attention. He sees you, loves you, and wants to deliver you.
I will heal you
Six years ago, 900 miles away from home at graduate school, I sat on the couch in my apartment, sobbing. Unrelenting irrational fears taunted me, and a dark cloak of hopelessness clung to me. I had lost a lot of weight, and stress had made my hair start to come out. I was weak, and felt like God had forsaken me. Looking back, I see the pain I felt was the result of unmet needs and heavy spiritual oppression. That day through my tears, I flipped open my Bible and Jeremiah 30:17 jumped off the page.
“I will restore health to you…”
For a brief moment, a flicker of hope reached my heart as I realized God did not mean for me to stay in the dark place I was in. He would be the agent for my healing and He would restore my health. He would be my light in the dark tunnel.
But God, where are you?
I clung to that revelation, but let me tell you, my feelings felt unmatched to God’s promise. I could not understand why God was allowing such extreme pain in my life. I cried out for deliverance that did not come. Where was my healing? I felt like I needed it immediately.
I was not healed suddenly or quickly, but God addressed my most pressing needs with urgency and care. He surrounded me with women who prayed for me and loved me. Two of those women had suffered similarly, and made it victoriously to the other side. One of those women is like another mom to me today.
God also provided a doctor who had no qualms about prescribing me the antidepressants I needed on my first visit. (You wouldn’t believe how many doctors were not willing to do that.)
Pastor Barry from my church back home had been praying for me through my ordeal. When I got back, he arranged for me to get free counseling from a licensed counselor and eased my fears around needing to take medication for my depression. I managed to stay in my graduate program during this time and graduate with an A/B average (that was a true miracle).
I could go on with examples, but I think you get the point: God was right there.
So many times during this battle, God seemed to be the enemy. I thought I was suffering because He was trying to beat something out of me. I begged Him to leave me alone, thinking that would make the suffering stop.
He wouldn’t leave me alone, though. He never stopped sending me encouragement or words of love and affirmation. He never stopped reassuring me that He would not let me fall. He never stopped protecting me.
It was from this that I learned an invaluable lesson: God really loves me! He will never leave me. He cares about me.
If you are suffering from depression, this can be hard to believe, and that’s OK. God knows those of us afflicted with depression are carrying a double load. He won’t stop pursuing you. He will stoop down so very low to carry you.
I’m still walking through my healing. Some days I am angry at God; other days I am angry at the world. I still cry out to God for complete deliverance.
The lyrics of Rich Mullins come to mind:
“There was so much work left to do, but so much you’ve already done. Oh God, you are my God, and I will ever praise you…” (“Step by Step”)
One last thing I would like to leave with you: Depression is a medical condition; accepting that can save your life. I was terrified to start taking medication to treat it. However, medication for depression is not some magic mood pill, as I’ve heard people joke. It literally helped my brain feel relaxed and normal, without the physical twinges of anxiety. When paired with counseling and spiritual care, it can give the person fighting a significant leg up in recovering.
If you need help, seek it. May God provide for all of your needs according to His riches in glory.