The Prayer of a Depressed Saint Part 2 of 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
There was another reason he was depressed; it was because of the victory of his enemy over him. So far, in his struggle against Saul, he hadn’t tasted victory. He didn’t have the resources that he needed to win a battle. He was forced to run away and hide and to live off the land. He lived a life filled with stress, and so he was depressed.
Today, many have experienced depression because of the victory of Satan over them. He is a powerful enemy of every believer and he would destroy us if he could. But he is held in check by God; he can’t harm us any more than God will allow. It is very difficult to pray as we should when we’re in the depths of despair, and suffering the pains of depression. Nevertheless, a person may need to pray a prayer of confession and ask for forgiveness. The passage reveals that the psalmist continued to pray even in his despair.
David wrestled with many of the questions growing out of his depression. Would God be glorified by David’s defeat? Would God’s cause be helped by David’s death? Should the enemy rejoice while God’s people suffer?
David reasoned with God, but didn’t try to tell Him what to do. Sometimes prayer means wrestling.
Notice that David’s prayer was confident and bold; “Look at me, O Lord my God, and answer me.” Through it all, David still refers to Jehovah as My God. David will prevail against his enemy from his knees. This prayer of David asks for nothing more than that the honor of God be acknowledged along with the deliverance of His servant.
Depression is something that comes to all of us from time-to-time. And when it does, we need to study God's Word and recognize our relationship to him and continue to come before him as needy children. In the book of Hebrews we are told, “Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need”(Heb. 4:16). Nothing is hidden from God, for He knows all things. To Him everything is “uncovered” or “laid bare”. Yet believers are encouraged to approach God boldly because of their confidence in their High Priest—the Lord Jesus. As High Priest, Jesus can sympathize with the weaknesses of His people. He knows by experience all their trials and temptations. And yet, He never failed or sinned. Our confidence, as Christians, is based on the knowledge that He died to save us and that He lives to keep us saved.
We are assured of a warm welcome because He has told us to come to Him. We can go into His presence by prayer, at any time of the day or night and obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. His mercy covers the things we should not have done, and His grace empowers us to do what we should do, but don’t have the power to do. When you have feelings of depression, do what David did and talk to God with an honest and humble heart.
David is depressed; however, his faith can be seen in the words of the last two verses. I rely on your constant love; I will be glad, because you will rescue me. I will sing to you, O Lord, because you have been good to me.
David was able to continue to trust in the unwavering love of God. Many times a person suffering depression finds it impossible to believe that God continues to love him or her. The psalmist had faith to believe that he would yet rejoice in the great salvation of God.
Perhaps the psalmist had this assurance because he believed that God would forgive him and cleanse him.
Faith doesn’t always give answers, but it does give encouragement.
No matter how successful the enemy appears to be, you can trust the Lord, rejoice in the Lord, sing to the Lord, and know that He will always deal bountifully with you. When you are on the Lord’s side there is no doubt as to the outcome. The psalmist believes that the answer is on the way.
The psalmist decided to sing unto the Lord because he was confident that God would deal bountifully and graciously with him. “I will sing to you, O Lord, because you have been good to me” (v. 6).
By trusting in the mercy of the Lord, Paul knows that he will live to celebrate deliverance from his adversary. In anticipation of this salvation, he can sing praises to the LORD for His boundless loving-kindness.
Depression in one form or another will be the experience of all of us, sometime in our lives. Depression must be dealt with or a person will live a life of misery. I want to tell you about an international health study that revealed some startling information about depression.
On September 15, 1996, the World Health Organization and the World Bank released their findings on the world’s greatest health problems. Christopher Murray, professor of health economics at Harvard University, was the study’s chief author. One of the most significant findings was their prediction that “major depression will become the second-leading cause of disability by the year 2020.” Major depression was the fourth-leading cause of disability in 1990.
On October 10, 1996, the sixth annual National Depression Screening Day was held. Dr. Douglas Jacobs, the Harvard psychiatrist who founded this program for free, annual screenings, said, “Over the last five years, we have screened two hundred thousand people. Seventy percent were ill and needed some kind of treatment.” He pointed out that about seventeen million Americans agonize with this illness to varying degrees, and about thirty thousand take their own lives each year. The perceived progress of society does not include diminishing depression. Technological advancements cannot provide the peace that only comes through Jesus Christ.
God is good. He works for good in everything that life brings to us, even depression. Romans 8:28 says, “We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose.” But it may not always seem so!
Sometimes when we are suffering from depression caused by heartbreak, tragedy, disappointment, frustration, or bereavement, we wonder what good can come out of it. But whatever God permits to come into our lives is designed to conform us to the image of His Son. When we see this, it takes the question mark out of our prayers.
Our lives are not controlled by impersonal forces such as chance, luck, or fate, but by our wonderful, personal Lord, who is “too loving" to be unkind and too wise to err.”
It may be that God won’t remove your depression; if that’s the case, I guarantee that He’ll give you the grace to live with it.
It’s in the Bible.