"The unfolding of your words gives light ..." (Psalm 119:130a)

Category: Depression (Page 2 of 2)

When Darkness Falls

Summer is turning to autumn. In fact, as I type these lines, today’s the day. For some time now darkness has been stealing the light from us. Here in Northeast Ohio we lose forty-nine minutes of daylight during the month of September. Since summer solstice we’ve lost three full hours of each day’s light.

Had you noticed? Perhaps by now you have, but it happens so incrementally that it is nearly imperceptible. Then one day you awaken asking where the sunrise has gone. One evening you have to head inside sooner than you’ve been accustomed to.

Darkness falls. It’s the way the world works.

dark-way

Darkness falls. It’s the way some lives unfold. Darkness encroaches, and I’m not speaking only of the celestial kind.

If statistics prove true—and we have no reason to believe they won’t—the darkness of depression has already fallen on about ten percent of the people that moved in and around your life today. Did you notice? If your life intersects in some way with twenty other people today the probabilities are that two of them are currently experiencing some significant level of depression. Did you see them? Notice them? Detect their struggle?

Maybe you find yourself asking, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?”  (Psalm 42:5, 11; 43:5).

Depression is a reality that inserts itself into every life—if not in personal experience, then in the experience of someone in your family, school, workplace, neighborhood, and, yes, even your church. It’s true: followers of Christ deal with depression too. Sadly, some feel shame for even being in the struggle, which only serves to deepen the darkness.

Depression is a wide river. In places it narrows into angry rapids, and in others it broadens into slower moving doldrums. It is deeper in some places, more shallow in others. It is fraught with hidden snares and snags hidden beneath an otherwise serene surface. Powerful currents remain unseen by most, but they grip and refuse to release those caught in their power—dragging them ever downward, deeper into despair.

All that is to say, depression has commonalities wherever it is found, but it is experienced personally and uniquely. Depression may manifest itself differently in each life, but it is darkness all. Solomon was right: “The heart knows its own bitterness” (Prov. 14:10a) . . . and the rest are left only guessing and trying to imagine.

Beginning in November I’m going to begin a series of six messages on Sunday mornings that address the all-too-common reality of depression. I would surely appreciate your prayers. Pray not only for me, but also for the other two men–a psychologist and a trained clinical counselor–who will each take one of the messages. Pray that these weeks and our messages will truly be healing for the wounded, burdened folks who will be present.

Here’s how I’ve outlined the series:

When Darkness Falls: Walking Through Depression

  • Fading Light: When Darkness Sets In (John Kitchen)
  • Failed Light: You’re Not Alone in the Dark (John Kitchen)
  • Shared Light: Help for Those Who Love the Depressed (Mr. David Teare, M.Ed., Ed.S., LPCC-S)
  • Seeking Light: Help for the Depressed (Dr. Donald Lichi)
  • Finding Light: Helps Along the Way (John Kitchen)
  • Full Light: The End of all Depression (John Kitchen)

The Inescapable Presence

“But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped … Nevertheless, I am continually with you, you hold my right hand.” (Psalm 73:2, 23)

The clash between truth and apparent reality in this world had nearly become too much for the psalmist. He had almost lost his footing in faith. He had a deep crisis of faith and confessed that he had nearly succumbed and given way. Yet when God prevailed in his life and once again gave him perspective (v.17), the psalmist awakened to discover “I am continually with you”! Throughout the entire crisis he had remained in God’s favor, relationship and presence. Though he could not see it, the entire ordeal had transpired in God’s presence, with God near. Indeed, he could confess that through the entire experience “you hold my right hand.”

All our depression and every crippling crisis in actuality is based on a facade. When God seems far away, removed, and inactive it is but a half-drawn picture that ignores the greater reality of God’s inescapable presence with us through all things. We doubt God’s presence while immersed in God’s presence. Sometimes, for His own sovereign reasons and sanctifying purposes, God suspends the sense of His presence, but never His actual presence.

Forgive me, Lord, for my failing faith. Keep me. Awaken me to the reality of your presence and the riches I have in you. I ask this in the Name of Him who promised, “I am with you always” and “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Amen.

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