Spurgeon called depression the “Dark night of the soul.” Everyone, including Christians, struggle with it to one degree or another. C.H. Spurgeon… who according to some was the greatest preacher to ever have lived outside of Jesus, Moses, and Paul… would sometimes weep uncontrollably for days for no reason he could discern.
People today call depression “The Blues,” “Being in a funk,” “Not having a good day,” or “In a bad mood.” Those are the extremely light forms of depression. These are normal. Everyone… and I do mean everyone… goes through them.
Then there is the kind that briefly incapacitates a person to some degree. They stay in a bad mood for a longer period of time. Sometimes they remove themselves from others preferring to stay in bed… in a darkened room… crying periodically.. ceasing to eat… sleeping a lot (Or not sleeping much). This doesn’t happen to as many people… but it does happen to the extent that I would call it somewhat normal (Notice I said somewhat normal). While these times are more serious, people usually recover from them with time and help from others… the most important of whom is God. Personally, I’ve experienced both of these forms myself.
The things that help me when I’m down are: 1) Worship, 2) Scripture, 3) Prayer.
Worship: I have a number of songs I listen to that are decidedly Christian. I require them to have good, sound theology. They are from several different styles: Jeremy Camp; Gaither Vocal Trio; Bob Caufman; Casting Crowns; Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir; Presetonwood Baptist Church Choir; Phillips, Craig, and Dean; and many more. Then I worship with God’s people in God’s House… Church (T.V. doesn’t count for me).
Scripture: There are a number of “go to” Scripture passages I read over and over and over and over and over. The purpose is for God’s Truth to overwhelm what my fallen sinful nature is naturally drawn to. There have been times I read A verse 10-15 times. Sometimes I read a passage and meditate upon it for 30 minutes to an hour. This is a tremendous help! Consider just a few from my list…
Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Prov 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Is 46:9 Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose…
Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Rom 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Rom 8:26 The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Rom 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Rom 8:31 If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Prayer. I take all my burdens, cares, worries, anxieties, and life situations to God. I tell Him about them and my requests in all their rawness. As I pray I affirm the passages of Scripture outlined above. Sometimes I pray without saying anything. Sometimes I just pray… “God I don’t know how to pray. But Your Spirit is praying for me right now according to Your will. So whatever He is praying… I affirm that.”