Everybody has days when life seems particularly hard or unhappy, but the issue of clinical depression, as it is sometimes called, is far more serious. It’s a deep, persistent and debilitating despair, leading to hopelessness, disrupted sleep and, sometimes, thoughts of suicide. As today’s verse reminds us, just telling a sufferer to ‘snap out of it’ is worse than useless. This disorder, which can last for weeks or even months, is one of the biggest global health issues of our day.
Along with various talking therapies, the medical profession worldwide prescribes substantial quantities of anti-depressant drugs for it. We praise God that medication can indeed help to alleviate the serious and miserable symptoms experienced by the sufferers. However, in Christ, we have a wonderful opportunity to go further in bringing help to one another, by acknowledging the deep spiritual heaviness which is frequently the underlying issue, whatever today’s trigger might be. Here is the prophetic description of what Christ would do for the depressed: ‘God has sent Me to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness’ (Isaiah 61:3).
The cause of depression could be in issues such as a recent trauma or hormonal imbalance. However, from a Christian perspective, the root cause for persistent depression is likely to be in unresolved disorder deep within the human soul and human spirit (Psalm 69:20). This can happen particularly when we’ve experienced times of a serious deficit in spiritual protection during childhood. Our human spirit can be left carrying deep anxiety and hopelessness, often made worse by our own ways of trying to hide or overcome the problem.
Although He doesn’t pretend there’s a quick fix (which would be unreal), Jesus has very good news for those suffering with this painful disorder. He’s come to truly take away the heaviness of man’s heart (Matthew 11:28).
As those suffering depression manage to forgive the people who’ve deeply wounded them in the past, they can seek God’s comfort and healing for inner brokenness. They can also receive His forgiveness for their own damaging behaviour in trying to resolve the problems, and then allow God to completely transform the condition of their hearts.
Every choice that we make in agreement with Jesus gives a powerful opportunity for the Holy Spirit to increasingly bring a true peace, a living hope and a lasting joy deep into our human spirit.
Prayer: We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Because of His great mercy He gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. This fills us with a living hope, and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for His people. Amen!
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