Not Free of Depression

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.

  • Psalm 13:1-6

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted
    above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
    I will sing and make music to the Lord.

  • Psalm 27:4-6

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.

  • Psalm 42:1-4

“Christians are not altogether immune from depression.  The fact is: the trend of events and the mounting tide of evil are enough to give one sobering thoughts – Christian or not.  David, the sweet singer of Israel, was not always on top of his depression.  Sometimes his gay, glad song was turned to a depressive mourning.  ‘My tears have been my meat day and night, while continually they say unto me, Where is thy God?  Why art thou cast down, O my soul, and why art thou disquieted within me?’  I find that the cure for depression is praise.  In other words, be so busy counting your blessings, that thoughts of gloom and despair will be crowded out.”

  • Billy Graham, Day by Day with Billy Graham (May 24)

I thought I would have a week of Billy Graham devotions.  He was born in November.  He passed away one hundred years later in February, short of his one hundredth birthday.  Why not spend a week in June discussing what he wrote fifty-five years ago.  As we go through some of these, it may seem like they were written yesterday, but that is partly our fault.  While some call for great “progress” and certainly there has been technical progress in the past 55 years, our social interactions have regressed instead of progressed.  People are likening the present political feud in Washington, DC to be as divided as the pre-Civil War days.  But we’ll speak of history repeating itself as we go along.

In 1965, when the quoted Billy Graham book was published, there were five Gemini manned spaceflights, the final two capsule overlapped one another, docking in space.  The Russians had docked twice before, but with capsules launched at the same time.  Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 synchronized the second launch to rendezvous with the first orbit, like the Space-X launch accomplished recently.

Why do I mention this, other than the historical parallel?  It might have been the bright spot in a year of Civil Rights protests (which parallel the protests of today), Women’s Lib protests, War Protests, etc.  In other words, we might think that progress was being made, but has it really?

This realization would get anyone depressed.

How many times was I told that I could not get promoted, because the position was reserved for a qualified minority candidate, but I could do the work of the supervisor until they promoted a qualified candidate.  And now that injustice for me isn’t enough of a sacrifice.  Why did I not become bitter?  Because I love Jesus, and Jesus said to love others.  It will all be worked out in the end.  I would like to have a larger nest egg, but God provides.

Then, you throw in a pandemic and the worldwide lockdown.  While others got depressed, I enjoyed the peace and quiet.  My monthly posts increased as a result of the extra time in prayer and Bible study.

So, do we get depressed that the problems that went away 50 years ago did not go away, because sin in this world will not go away until Jesus returns?  Or do we turn to Jesus and not worry about it?  In becoming more like Jesus, the problems of 50 years ago will go away, if we all joined in.  Do we get depressed because injustices were perpetrated on a couple of generations in order to governmentally fix the previous injustices against others, just to waste those years because anger and resentment festered on both sides anyway?  Or do we forgive and move on and Jesus taught us to do?

If you want to have a pity party, read 1 Kings 19.  Elijah had just defeated Jezebel’s priests of Baal, but Jezebel placed a price on Elijah’s head and Elijah got depressed.  God would not stand for it, and he put Elijah to work.  If you want to vent your frustrations, read a large number of the Psalms.  Psalm 13 is quoted in its entirety above.  I prayed Psalm 13 daily for over a year, before God led me to Psalm 25, as I continued to feel sorry for myself (Psalm 25 is more balanced between lament and praise).  Notice in any of these psalms of lament, the psalmist (not always David as Billy Graham implies) writes words of praise.  “God, where are you?  Can you not see that I am in pain?  But You are a sovereign God and worthy of praise.  Thank you Lord for watching over me, even when I feel so sorry for myself that I cannot sense You.”  Does that not sum up a number of the psalms?

Billy Graham hit the nail on the head, and so did David and the other psalmists.  Regardless of how abandoned and alone we might feel, we are not alone.  God is watching.  Angels stand to our left and our right.  Praise God.  Count your blessings.  And trust God; know that you are not alone.

Let’s listen to Guy Penrod singing on this topic.  I still don’t understand why my wife Guy Penrod so much…

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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