Depression is often illusive. Some dark cloud gathers and hangs overhead. You feel constantly ill at ease. Whether triggered by negative events, or some undefined cause, you know despondency when you experience it, even if you find it hard to describe.
Sometimes it’s circumstantial, but often you’re left scratching your head, wondering, Where did all the joy go?
God Is There with You
Author Randy Alcorn is no foreigner to depression. He has journeyed through dark seasons — once for four months on end — and offers this word of hope to the Christian: “God is there with you in the depression.”
Don’t wait till the depression passes to seek God, advises Alcorn. He’s not waiting for you to come out of it before walking with you, but he’s eager to walk with you in the midst of it.
Over the years, during his seasons of depression, Alcorn has learned to lean on God’s means of grace — his word, prayer, and the support of fellow Christians — and in particular to rehearse God’s matchless promises, especially from Romans 8. If God is for us, no one can be successfully against us (Romans 8:31). We are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:37). Nothing whatsoever can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35, 38–39).
Alcorn also offers a word of counsel to pastors and Christian leaders looking to minister to the depressed. Be careful not to oversimplify the causes, and don’t lead with a lecture. Depression’s causes and cures can be mysterious. And some of the greatest saints have walked through the deepest depression. Case in point: Charles Spurgeon.
“Some of the greatest saints have walked through the deepest depression.”
Rather, with patience, manifest love, a listening ear, and grace-filled words, you can be used as God’s instruments to bring sustaining grace into some of life’s most dreadful seasons.
In this new episode of Theology Refresh, Alcorn both shares from his own experience, as one who has walked the dark path, and gives direction for those hoping to minister to the depressed.