“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:7-10).
Depression Revisited is a continuation of an earlier post Depression. Depression wasn’t the greatest heartache of my life, but let’s just say that mental illness gave number one a run for its money. Depression is an oppressive and oftentimes debilitating condition; a selfish and jealous spirit leaving little room for anything else. There were times I felt as though I was living a nightmare from which I couldn’t wake (excuse the cliché). Reaching out to God amidst the darkness was, perhaps, one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. But Jesus was there with me, and the darkness didn’t hang around forever. Different infirmities call for different treatments, and reach different outcomes—good and bad, but no matter the treatment prescribed, or the outcome reached, complete and lasting wellness begins and ends with God.
At least in my own life, I’ve found that pain and struggle make me far more malleable than comfort and ease ever could. But what had to change with me for this long process of restoration to happen? With God’s help, I had to stop making excuses, stop blaming, stop being a victim, and stop being angry; I had to surrender to God unconditionally. It’s easy to go from advocating on behalf of the inflicted, to advocating on behalf of the infliction; that’s a terrible yoke to carry. I couldn’t attach strings to my recovery, at least not with God. Maybe I could have gotten by placing conditions where people were concerned but not God. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:7-10). I had to learn that the clay doesn’t ask the potter, “What are you doing?” (Isaiah 45:9).
Hebrews 4:15 remains a source of comfort, because I am reminded that Jesus not only empathizes with the human experience, Jesus has overcome the human experience. I am reminded that Jesus literally walked in my shoes, not just in terms of temptation, but illness as well. “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.” Recovery has been a long and painful process of victories and setbacks. In my despair, there was even a time when I accused God of being an absentee parent; depression is such a liar. An instantaneous healing would have been glorious, but now I wonder if the struggle hasn’t been more glorious. Whether I live or die, I belong to God; I am his victory in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:37; 14:8).
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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