Jake’s band had just broken up when he found himself depressed and contemplating suicide. Ben had returned from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and was so depressed he couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. Julie was teased so relentlessly that her depression gave way to cutting herself. Jenny didn’t know why she was depressed, only that every day was a battle often ending in tears.
For most of their lives they had heard the Christian message in regards to depression and suicide. That message was “Just trust God and life will get better. If you love God you won’t be depressed.” What happens, though, when you love God but the darkness and heavy fog won’t lift? What happens when you would rather go home to your Maker than spend another day on Earth?
For many, there can often be the misconception that when you find Jesus, you’ll stop feeling bad and life will be pretty. But that’s not reality, is it? Friends and loved ones die. Unjust suffering occurs. Our friends can betray us. Sometimes we’re left in what seems like a never-ending night, perhaps without even an obvious cause.
The good news is that many of our heroes of faith within the Scriptures felt the EXACT same way. King David finds his soul “downcast.” Elijah asks God to kill him (1 King 19:4). But perhaps in one of the most stunning passages of scripture, we discover the Apostle Paul struggling through the same as he writes to the Church in Corinth. He openly shares about the suffering and affliction he and others in the early church suffered, and then goes on to say that he was so “burdened” (in the Greek it can be translated as “weighed down, depressed”) that they “despaired even of living.” That even the Apostle Paul, who we often view as the Superman of the New Testament, isn’t immune to feeling this way helps validate our situation.
Today, find comfort in knowing you are in the company of men and women of faith who have been where you are, and eventually found hope and the strength to carry on.