Depression is often illusive. Some dark cloud hangs. You feel constantly ill at ease. Whether triggered by negative events, or some undefined cause, we know despondency when we experience it, even if we find it hard to describe.
Sometimes it’s circumstantial, but often we’re left scratching our heads, wondering, Where did all the joy go?
God Is There with You
Author Randy Alcorn is no foreigner to depression. He has walked 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 Go, advises Alcorn. Don’t hold on moving toward him, and forward in life by faith, knowing that he’s not waiting for you to come out of it to walk 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 separates us from the love of God (Romans 8:35, 38–39).
Alcorn also would offer a word of counsel to pastors and Christian leaders looking to minister to the depressed. Be careful not to oversimplify the causes; 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 depressions. Case in point: Charles Spurgeon.
Rather, with patience, manifest love, and a listening ear, we 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 of depression, and gives direction for those hoping to minister to the depressed.