When You're Feeling Down
"My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word."1 — King David
It can be hard to believe that King David, the greatest king in Israel's long history, with all his power, riches and fame, at times felt downcast and depressed. Many, if not most of us, at one time or another go through times of depression. The causes can be varied and many, all the way from the loss of one's job, the loss of a loved one, the loss of one's home, the loss of health, by a debilitating accident, or any of a number of losses or negative circumstances. For most of these situations the depression will give way to sunshine as long as one learns how to deal creatively with his or her emotions at these times, and not bury or deny them. Repressed negative emotions can and do cause havoc with one's life, feelings, physical health and relationships. As John Powell reminds, when we repress our emotions, our stomach keeps score.
However if the depression is long-term, it can be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Such depression is nature's way of telling us that something is wrong and needs help to overcome and resolve. For instance, if we have stomach pains we need to see a good doctor; if toothache, we need to see a dentist. It's the same with long-term depression, we need to see a highly qualified counselor. We don't feel it's wrong or unchristian to see a medical doctor or a dentist when such is called for, so it's important that we learn to realize that it is also acceptable when there is a need to see a counselor. It can be very unkind of an insensitive Christian to tell a depressed person that all he or she needs is to trust God more, or have more faith, or even worse, to blame it on a demon (and I've seen all of these done).
If you, or a loved one, is struggling with depression, pray first that God will help you find the help you need—preferable from a professional Christian counselor, if any are available in your local area (talk to your family doctor or to your pastor or priest for the name of a qualified Christian counselor in your area). The important thing is to do something about your need today. Putting it off rarely, if ever, resolves such depression.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, whenever I have a problem, be it physical, relational, emotional, or spiritual, please give me the courage to share my problem with a safe and trusted friend who will pray for and with me for the help I need to overcome my problem. And if it is a loved one or friend who suffers from depression, please help me to be 'as Jesus' to him or her and lovingly share with them their need to seek professional and qualified help. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Psalm 119:28 (NKJV).