The Psalms are full of times where David pleaded with God to relieve him of the darkness which threatened to overtake him. He talks about his heart growing faint (Psalm 61:2) and about proverbial waters of despair nearly drowning him (Psalm 69:1). And if we are honest: we sometimes feel that way too.
It’s comforting to know we are not the first ones to experience intense fear and anxiety in the depths of despair.
For us, it may look like…
…pervasive sadness we cannot seem to shake.
…deep apathy for things we used to love and find joy in.
…sleeping much more or less than usual.
…intense feelings of guilt or shame.
…eating much more or less than usual.
…an inability to get out of bed some days.
Whatever it may look like, there are five truths rooted in Scripture we can cling to in times we feel like we may not survive the week, the day, or even the moment.
We are not alone.
It is important to remember: depression is a liar. Depression whispers defeating messages to our hearts and minds. It tells us that we are alone, forgotten and unworthy. It can be easy to believe it, but God is unwilling to let us experience such deep despair alone. Psalm 34:18 tells us,
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (NIV).
God loves us so much that He stays with us in our heartache. Perhaps He even pushes a little bit closer and deeper into the darkness surrounding us. In our sadness, the Lord is near.
It is not our fault.
Depression is real. It is not a lack of faith or an issue of unrecognized sin. It is a legitimate mental health issue and it is not uncommon. In fact, depression affects about 20% of teenage girls. Depression can be a result of a dramatic life event, like severe trauma, but also simply of genetics and chemical changes in the brain. Whatever it may be, we did nothing to cause it.
It’s okay not to be okay.
We do not have to pretend that we have it all together. We are human beings with real emotions and they will not always be positive ones. In difficult times, we will find people who love us simply for being us, deeply and lavishly, and we cling to them. We find the ones who are willing to sit in our sadness with us, who will make us pancakes for dinner, and stay up talking late into the night until we can finally get to sleep. We run to the people God gave us who know how to speak the truth of who God is and who He says we are until we believe it again. We do not always have to be okay, but we must remember that we will always be okay again.
We are loved more than we can imagine.
God created us just as we are, unique and wonderful. Psalm 139:14 reminds us that “we are fearfully and wonderfully made” in the image of God. When we feel unworthy, unhappy, and maybe even a little unlovable, we can rest in the truth that the Lord’s love is forever unfailing.
Our God is a God of Rescue.
David tells us that,
“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters … He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” –Psalm 18:16 & 19, NIV
It’s true: rescue may not always look the way we want it to. It may take longer or be at a different time than we would like. Maybe God rescues us from depression forever—but maybe He just faithfully rescues us one day at a time, or one moment at a time. No matter what our rescue looks like, we know that God is who He says He is and He will always show up. And when our trust is in the Lord, our hope is never in vain.
What are your favorite Bible verses to cling to when you are in the depths of despair?
Bailey Jo Welch – Column: Hope RisingBailey Jo Welch is a passionate storyteller and faithful truth-seeker. She believes in finding Jesus everywhere, especially in life on the water and around the table. Her work has been featured in several publications, including RELEVANT Magazine Online. When not writing, you can find Bailey reading, hiking, drinking coffee and eating Mexican food. You can find her writing at baileyjowelch.com and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.