In our world of lockdowns and mandates we have all have been forced to experience change in our lives. We have had to experience isolation even as people created to be in communion with each other. We have been forced to cover our faces and our smiles now have no chance to brighten another’s day.
As a result, depression has seen an increase around the world making millions to suffer. Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease (World Health Organization). The WHO estimates that approximately 280 million people suffer from it worldwide (5% of adults and 5.7% of older adults). According to a resent study, because of Covid-19, younger adults, essential workers and unpaid adult caregivers have experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance abuse use and elevated suicidal ideation.
This is not the way we were created to be. This loss of hope has robbed us of God’s greater plan toward harmony and peace both within our own hearts and in our relationships with others. God has a better way in store for us and He yearns for people to find that lost hope in Him.
We go to Scripture for His message of better things and for reminders of a God-sized love that never wains. From Psalm 9:9, “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Our Lord wants us to find our strength in Him with the knowledge that He is mighty enough to overcome any obstacles that might get in our way. He knows that, because of sin, we will have to suffer at times, but with Him we can find our refuge and strength in times of trial.
“Even 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” (Psalms 23:4). Yes, life will sometimes let us down, but we need not rest in that disappointment. We need not fear the unknown or lose ourselves in negative emotion, because God is with us. We can always find comfort in His presence. “For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime, weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
For those who place their hope and trust in Christ, He offers a way out of our depression. The Psalmist says in Psalm 30:11, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.” He knows the struggles that come with living in a world cursed by sin, but He has chosen not to abandon us in our iniquity. Though we so often lose our way, He never stops calling out for us with an offer of love and relief. Even in our darkest hours, He offers us hope.
His ear is always toward us, and He listens intently to our cries for help. From Psalm 34:17-18, “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from their troubles. The lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” He will never force Himself upon you, but He will help those who invite Him into their lives in times of depression and other kinds of struggle. He weeps when we are weeping and rejoices with those who find joy. We, however, must surrender the fight we have against Him and welcome Him.
When we are in the throws of depression, we want instant relief. We want the hurt to stop and the sorrow to cease. Sometimes when that doesn’t happen, we feel as if God isn’t listening. We are not unlike the Psalmist when he says, “Answer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD! I have fled to you for refuge” (Psalm 143:7-9). Its only natural to want quick relief.
But we don’t know the full extent of our suffering like God does and we must trust Him to take us on the path that will bring us the most good. Even in depression we can learn things about ourselves and about each other that will serve us and God together. Our task is to trust in God and the path He has chosen for us because he will never leave us or forsake us in our time of need. May He make His presence known to you. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for always being available to us in our times of depression. Help us to lay down our dependence on the world to heal us as we reach out to You for relief. Amen.