Friday, April 30, 2010

Depression Hurts

Depression is an oft ignored subject of Christians. Or worse, we get the "good news" that if we just had more faith, we wouldn't be depressed. That as Christians we should only feel joy. That isn't what Jesus said. No, in fact He says "In this world you WILL have trouble." (John 16:33, emphasis mine).

The prophet Elijah had every reason to be joyful. He had overcome all the false prophets of Bael, (450 of them!) and God had proved through a ball of fire that Elijah was the true prophet of God. (1 Kings 18). Yet, Elijah felt very much alone. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. Depressed? Perhaps so.

The pressure of life can lead to depression. We respond in many ways. In Elijah's case he ran away and wanted to die. He just lay and slept. Yet God sent an angel with food and drink for Elijah. God wants us to take care of our basic needs.

Elijah tells God how alone he feels. He says "I am the only one left." twice, in verses 10 and 14. Don't we feel all alone when depressed? Yet God tells Elijah of the 7,000 on His side in verse 18. God knows we need a system of support.

If you are facing depression, I urge you to get help. Talk to a trusted friend, pastor or counselor. Pray. Take care of your basic needs. Find your support system.

If you suffer from depression or know someone that does, listen to this sermon by my pastor Rick Raines, along with the testimony of my friend Tracy Thomas who overcame depression. (If you are short of time, Tracy's testimony begins at minute 2:45 of the recording.) This post is derived from Rick Raine's sermon with permission, but he & Tracy are so much more eloquent that I am.

Who does depression hurt? Everyone. If you don't suffer from depression, praise the Lord. Then be an "ACE" (Ask/Care/Escort) to someone who does:

Ask your buddy if they are depressed.
Care for your buddy and their basic needs.
Escort your buddy to the appropriate help.

Chatty Kelly

John 16:33 -- In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

1 Peter 5:7 -- Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.


Melanie said...

Thanks for posting this, Kelly.
It's important.

Beth in NC said...

I pray God will lead people who are oppressed by this to your post. <3 I hate the enemy and I hate the way he torments people.

Mocha with Linda said...

Amen. My mom had depression that went untreated for years because she felt like it meant she wasn't a good enough Christian.

Lois Lane II said...

You're the third person to mention to me something about depression...I'm not depressed, but I'm wondering if I'm missing signals of someone close to me who is depressed...thanks for the food for though.

Kelly said...

That is one of the hardest parts of dealing with depression. Part of me thinks that if I believed in God more and had stronger faith, I would be okay. I wouldn't feel this way. But the part of me that believes so strongly doesn't know how I can improve- and knows that it isn't true.

Thanks for posting this. I needed it.

Lois Lane II said...

So, I have to tell you what just happened and thank you for posting this. A girl in my Sunday School class just messaged me with some issues she's dealing with, but here were the three words I saw first:

"I am depressed."

God works in mysterious ways. I shared these verses with her, and again, thank you for posting this.

Edie said...

Just a few days ago God gave me the opportunity to pray with someone who I just discovered has been battling depression.

Heart2Heart said...


As followers of Christ, these are some great tips to keep in mind. May we all realize when someone needs professional help and be willing to help them through the process.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

KrippledWarrior said...

Thank you for this. I am quite frankly fed up with, "ALL YOU NEED IS JESUS, And everything will be all right."
I used to threaten the sunday school with a visit to the Lions den at the zoo, to see what awaited the early church...

LisaShaw said...

Amen! Powerful post Kelly!

Hugs and blessings!

My ADHD Me said...

I couldn't open the link but I enjoyed the post.
Thanks for the lunch date ;)

Sue J. said...

In the Beth Moore study I just finished, she brings up the Elijah story and his depression. He was so wrapped up in his ministry, but he didn't take care of himself--even his basic needs. That's not a good situation, and should serve as a warning sign to all of us.

The pastor at my last church had the "Have God, don't have depression" line of thinking. One of my spiritual mentors, also a practicing nurse, gently wrote an article in the church newsletter presenting quite a different perspective. Depression can definitely be an illness, requiring treatment, and we can help with that.

Important post, indeed.

sanjeet said...

Thanks for posting this,
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