“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).
Depression isn’t feeling bummed; depression isn’t situational; depression is an oppressive and oftentimes debilitating condition. The notion that the brain is the one organ God made impervious to illness is absurd, but as with everything else physical, mental illness also has a spiritual component. “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9). I want to take a moment to boast about one of my great lifelong struggles.
I’ve struggled with depression, most of my life, and find it to be a selfish and jealous spirit leaving little room for anyone, or anything, else. The fruits of depression are hopelessness and despair; shame and embarrassment; I know these demons personally. But the Holy Spirit, is also hard at work within me, most often quietly, and eventually broke depression’s yoke. Hopelessness and despair lost their sting, and shame and embarrassment were replaced by renewal and gratitude; I’ve also come to know the Holy Spirit personally. Depression is always present, and ready to spring into action, but the Lord is with me, as well. I am God’s victory in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:37).
In all aspects of the human experience, not just temptation, but also in illness, God is not unsympathetic to our plight; he has literally walked in our shoes. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin“ (Hebrews 4:15). When I don’t know how to move forward, I will rejoice! When I want to run away, I will rejoice! When I feel anxiety’s grip tightening all around me, I will rejoice! God is faithful; I will rejoice! Times of weakness and despair are some of the best occasions to speak the truth; those times when the truth seems to be furthest away.
Don’t be ashamed; that’s the devil. Pray without ceasing and seek help. We are spiritual, yet we are physical; one need not come at the expense of the other. God has graciously given us many resources.
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