In the “Praying the Psalms” journey, as I looked at Psalm 40 last year, it opened up an interesting topic – despair and depression in the Christian life. I recognized then that this was an issue worthy of additional time. It may very well be that you have suffered from depression and despair. A year later, as we walk through this journey together, I still see the great need for considering this topic.
John Piper has an excellent book on this topic that I would recommend to any of you that want to know more about this topic. The name of the book is “When the Darkness Will Not Lift“. It is available on the “www.desiringgod.org” website totally free of charge. I appreciate John Piper’s approach for several reasons:
- He does not discount the medical realities of depression.
- I’m certainly not qualified to make observations about the realities of physical problems leading to depression. Instead, I can only observe from cases I have witnessed where this appeared to be true in others. There was an apparent medical issue and when that medical issue was addressed, there was a marked improvement.
- So the first observation I would make is that I am grateful that John Piper does not immediately discount the medical component of depression.
- I had a professor in seminary who did just that and while I appreciate his approach, I simply cannot go that far.
- He gives the reader practical things to do in the midst of the darkness.
- He places the issue within the context of hundreds of years of Christian leaders/writers who suffered similar challenges.
I believe there are more people in our churches that are struggling with depression and despair than we will ever realize. If that is you, do not give up hope. The Bible offers us a promise in Psalm 30, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” I don’t know when that “morning” will be for you. It may come tomorrow or it may be a year from now. Don’t give up hope because in that same Psalm (Ps. 30), we read that “His favor is for life”. In other words, God is not against you in this season. He still loves you and cares for you, so keep seeking Him and desiring purity in your life. And as you wait, let the hope of tomorrow lift your spirit.