My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long? Psalm 6:3 (NIV).
It spreads like a cancer, robbing us of our health, lying to us, until we feel like all is hopeless. The light turns to darkness, as this thief in the night sneaks into our minds. Suddenly, we look into the mirror and don’t recognize who we have become. Depression is serious, deadly; but it is nothing new.
It is no respecter of persons; the greatest human king in Israel’s history, the man after God’s own heart, suffered from severe depression and wrote about it. Flip through the Psalms, and you can read David’s prayers to the Lord while he was struggling. Psalms 6, 22, 31, 38, 69, 109, 142, and 143 will get you started.
I remember after my son was born, I was so desperate to feel hope. I asked the Lord why He was allowing this to happen to me. What had I done to deserve it? Why couldn’t I be happy like everyone else. But I heard nothing from Him. I didn’t find the answer from Scripture. The Bible I used from that time is so worn that the binding has broken off. The Psalms are marked with highlighter and underlines and dates from when I couldn’t function. Psalm 40 is one I can almost recite from memory. Over and over, as months turned to years, I asked God, “How long? When will you come? When will I be lifted out of this pit? Will I ever be able to sing a new song? In fact, I don’t want a new song, Lord give me the old song!!! Let me be like I was before.”
I waited patiently on the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry, He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV)
But that’s not what the Lord does. He gives us a new song. I am not the same. I don’t recognize the girl I was before my depression. She hummed a song to the Lord, maybe said some words here or there. She loved Him, but she didn’t realize she needed Him to breathe. Now I sing and shout about His grace and mercy in my life. My song is new, because He delivered me from the deepest pit, out of a darkness I did not know existed. When you have been knocked down so low, you can’t help but marvel when He lifts you back up and allows you to stand on Him.
For those in the pit, right now, He is there! David wrote in Psalm 34, “the Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” He is near to you and will save you, even if you cannot believe it now. It’s true because His Word tells us. Cling to Him in whatever way you can and as you patiently wait on Him you will know Him in a way like never before. And when all is said and done, He will give you the most beautiful new song to sing. When He has lifted you up, many will look at you and say, “Wow… what happened to her? How in the world is she still standing?” And you can tell them it’s because of the Lord your God. Wait for Him. His mercies are new every morning.