Answers to Your Questions: Combating Depression
Q: I’ve learned to trust God and have seen Him answer some of my prayers, but one thing that prayer doesn’t seem to be able to do for me is help me overcome the bouts of depression that I go through from time to time. Why does God seem so distant when I need Him most?
A: Depression and anxiety are rampant in the world today—even chronic depression, overwhelming depression, to where people completely lose the desire to live.
When depression hits, it’s sometimes hard to know what to do or how to cope. But even if you find that you’ve “made your bed in the middle of Hell itself”—which the world today sometimes resembles—God will be right there with you. Read it in Psalm 139: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into Heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139:7-10). “[Jesus] will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
What can help you more than anything else to stay upbeat and positive and free from the grip of depression, or help you pull out of it if you get sucked down, is keeping a connection with God through reading His Word and seeking Him in prayer. His love is always there for you. Even in the times when you’re down, very discouraged, or depressed, even when you feel He couldn’t possibly love you or care about you, He still does!
One fundamental point to remember is that it’s not God who sends discouragement and depression your way, but the Devil. The Devil’s ultimate goal is to separate you from God, and one of the main tactics he will try to use to that end is telling you that God doesn’t love you personally. First he gets you depressed over something else—often some little thing that he blows up way out of proportion—and then he tries to get you to doubt or even blame God for not immediately coming to your rescue. He tempts you to doubt God’s love, to stop believing that He cares about you personally, or even to stop believing that He exists.
Whatever you do, don’t believe those lies! Hold on to your faith and trust in God, because when it gets down to the wire, He is your only hope and the only One who can help you make it through your present difficulty and the others that are sure to come your way.
Those who choose to hold on to their faith when difficulties come their way find that it is possible to keep their faith—and God does help them through their difficulties. It may not happen immediately or exactly the way they hoped and prayed for, but in the end God makes things go smoother and turn out better than if they had tried to go it alone by letting go of their faith. They’ve seen that their faith can get them through the rough times. They find that their “faith connection” is their greatest asset when depression strikes.
So when you find yourself besieged by feelings of depression, melancholy, or hopelessness, when you feel that God doesn’t love you, or whatever the source of your depression may be, don’t try to fight it out on your own. Recognize depression as the spiritual attack of the Enemy that it is, and take a stand against it in the spirit.
It often helps to get prayer and encouragement from people who know and love you and understand the spiritual warfare you’re fighting. But even if there is no one around who you can call on for backup, call out to God for His help, and He’ll be there. You’re not stronger than the Devil, but God is. Ask Him to come to your defense, and He will. He loves you and He is ready and waiting to fight for you!
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