Yesterday in church we sang the song, “Blessed Be Your Name”. In the past few months we have sung this several times in church and each time I get choked up and am so thankful to God that I understand the lyrics “When the darkness closes in Lord, STILL I will say, Blessed be the name of the Lord!”. It was not always so. I have been dealing with anxiety issues since I was a little girl, right after the time my parents got divorced. The devil has tried many times to use (successfully in the past) my anxiety against me. Eventually as I got older it turned into bouts of depression.
How can a CHRISTIAN who loves the Lord struggle with depression? Aren’t Christians supposed to be joyful always and have joy in the Lord? These are questions that depressed Christians struggle with secretly. Feelings of guilt and shame often accompany them. The particular depression that I struggle with comes and goes. It can be 3 years and then it hits me and I struggle for three months. Then another six months will go by and I will struggle with it for a week. It looks different for anyone who deals with depression. For me, I believe a major component is spiritual warfare. The devil wants me down and wants me to stay down, but I refuse to let him have the upper hand in this.
The past three months I have had many ups and downs. During the down times I would pray that the Lord not give up on me that He would stay by my side. He said, “Melissa, don’t give up on ME.” I thought to look up some Psalms because I know that King David knew what it was like to be in despair. I found 3 psalms that have helped me through my down times.
Psalm 27- A Psalm of fearless trust in God
It begins with- “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?” Just think of that! The Lord is our DEFENSE. Reading that over and over, and believing that God is defending me against the evil one brought hope to a sad heart.
Verse 8 says, “When you said, “Seek my face”, my heart said to you “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”” I love this verse because I feel that the Lord spoke those words to me. The Lord knows my struggles and He is saying “Seek me Melissa because I have the answers and the comfort.” He desires us to comply with His request, and when I did, He came THROUGH. He is faithful
Psalm 34- The Lord, a Provider and Deliverer
Every thing about this Psalm speaks to me in a personal way. Here I see David, a man who loves God deeply, but is depressed. He manages to find joy in the Lord despite it. I feel that this Psalm is very healing for the depressed who love the Lord.
Verse 1- “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” This reminds me that no matter how I feel I should give praise to the Lord. This action is difficult when you find yourself at a low point. BUT IT IS POSSIBLE. I have found that by blessing the Lord in my down times, I can’t quite describe it but, there is a peace in the midst of anxiety. There is a glimmer of joy. It helps you make it through.
Verse 6- “The Angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.” How comforting this verse is. Knowing that if I remain faithful to the Lord in the down times, that He will encamp around me. I think of the word “encamp” as protecting, staking claim, covering. This verse is healing.
Psalm 64- A thirsting soul satisfied in God
This psalm speaks to being alive in the Lord no matter the circumstance. This is on of my favorite passages of scripture. I want to be as satisfied with the Lord as the psalmist is.
Verse 1 says, “I shall seek you earnestly… in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Jesus Christ is the LIVING WATER. The reminder to seek Him during the times my life feels dry is an encouragement to me to continue pressing on and praising the Lord.
I love verses 6 and 7. ” When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on you in the night watches, For you have been my help and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.” In the “shadow of Your wings.” Again I see God here as my protector. As a bird spreading out its wings protecting her young from predators. There is ultimate comfort and protection in God’s shadow and that is where we should strive to be.
I truly believe that someone who is depressed can still experience joy in the Lord. It’s not the joy that makes our faces break out into a smile and obliterates what we are going through, but it’s a joy that is much deeper. It is a joy that when times get dark, we KNOW we have the Lord to cling to. We DEPEND on the Lord’s steadfastness to make it through a bad day. We RELY on the Lord for protection from the evil one. In the midst of crying when we do not know why, God gives us PEACE, even if that peace does not make us stop crying. It’s difficult to explain if you have never been depressed.
I believe the Lord is pleased with us in the midst of depression when we find ways to say “Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be your name Jesus. You give and take away, you give and take away, my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be your name.”
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him in the midst of suffering.”