holding on for God’s peace (waiting on God): my experience with depression

Yesterday, as I recall it, I read at least one message about waiting on God which was confirmed later in the day. I myself struggle with what might be called clinical depression, maybe a mild form, especially when I read that one of the signs of clinical depression is to not be able to get out of bed. Well, I suppose it manifests itself in various ways. Although I’ve never been diagnosed as such, at one time I asked our general doctor if I could try a med for possible depression, so that along the way I did two of them, then quit. The first helped a lot, it seeemed. One person who knew me said I was a different person, like I had been born again. But it wore off over time. The second gave me splitting headaches. So I quit taking them, and went back to my old self.

When I look at biblical writings such as in the psalms (Psalms 13 and 88 being two good examples), Jeremiah and Lamentations, along with other writings in scripture, I realize that a good number of people in scripture were not immune to this kind of suffering. We surely would have to include Jesus himself at certain points, certainly in Gethsemane, and when he cried out with his sense of having been forsaken on the cross.

For me what is helpful is being in scripture and from that, in prayer. And remembering that all and everything is linked to the gospel which good liturgy keeps in front of us, along with our necessary response to it. So that it’s the message of the good news of Jesus in the fellowship of the church by the Holy Spirit which keeps me sane, and hopefully helps me to grow in conformity more to Christ.

Although I have experienced some of the “charismatic” side and believe in some of that, I don’t at all get help from any ecstatic experiences, since I don’t experience them, and really am not intent in seeking such. Not that my experience ought to be the measure of anything, but that is the way it is for me. I am not a believer in trying to enter into the right experience, or find some life changing book. Some of that here and there, if it happens, might help, but by and large the kind of help I think that makes the needed difference is what God gives us little by little, and how God helps us grow in ways which are quite well beyond us through the gospel in the word/scripture, in the fellowship and communion of the church, and through the experiences, even hard knocks and places in life.

“Wait on the Lord.” Not a fun place to be, but important for the growth of our faith. When we feel overwhelmed, or are looking for an answer to a problem, or simply in prayer over a matter, we need to hold on to faith by waiting on God. God will come through: God’s peace, presence, protection and provision according to his will and promises in and through Jesus. And hopefully this can be more and more our set response to the inevitable difficulties we will experience in life. Something even at this relatively later stage in my life, I continue to work on.

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2 comments on “holding on for God’s peace (waiting on God): my experience with depression

  1. Mike says:

    I always appreciate your honesty and genuineness with which you write. I think I’ve read somewhere Martin Luther might have been considered clinically depressed, by today’s standards. There are others as well. Needless to say, we’re in good company brother!

    I wonder if melancholy or out-and-out depression is that yearning? That is, Pascal called the void a “God-shaped” hole needing to be filled. Is our yearning for something other really a search for someone Other? Is our discontent attributable to God reaching out to us in grace? You’ve got me thinking brother!

    • Yes, Thanks, Mike. Interesting thought. I would hope that simply by living in a broken world among the broken would be enough apart from depression. I think there’s a time to get help with meds for sure. In my case I want to go for more natural and actually common sense things first, like being more disciplined at getting more sleep. Ha. But yes, when we have the sense of deep inner need, it ought to drive us to seek God and God’s help, of course that being possible only by grace.

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