Depression and Hopelessness
Written by Kaifang Zheng – Posted by David
Words to fellow believers who struggle with depression and a sense of hopelessness
You are in great distress and feeling depressed, weary, frustrated at yourself, and hopeless… That’s such a hard place to be. I wish I could be in the same room with you and be present… In the meantime, I want to say that your Redeemer is not put off by your struggle and your hopeless feelings! He meets you where you are, with tenderness and steadiness. He is present with you though it could be hard for you to “see.” He wants you to bring your despair to him and cry for help right now, in the middle of your darkness and distress.
Go to Psalm 69. Hear how David cried out his despair to God thousands of years ago. And God’s Word gives you voice to say out loud to Him in the same way:
“I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God…
Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up,
or the pit close its mouth over me.
Answer me, O LORD,
for your steadfast love is good;
according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
Hide not your face from your servant;
for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.
Draw near to my soul, redeem me; ransom me because of my enemies! …
But I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high.”
(vv. 2-3, 15-18)
The Lord draws near!
Psalm 86. Again David cried out to God.
“Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day…
Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
listen to my plea for grace.
In the day of my trouble, I call upon you for you answer me.”
(vv. 3, 6-7)
The Lord does hear!
The Lord’s love for you in Christ is steadfast! That love is not based on how you are doing or how you’ve been doing, but on who He is in your life and what Christ has accomplished for you on the Cross. Look back and remember those times God brought you through your struggles. He is the same God of faithfulness, grace, and holiness today. His love and faithfulness to you does not depend on your faithfulness but His own character. This faithful and loving Lord is your stronghold as your life wavers. “Under His wings you will find refuge, his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91:4b) His love aims to sanctify you and deepen your faith. He promises to you that when you call to Him, He will answer you; He will be with you in trouble; He will rescue you and honor you. With long life He will satisfy you and show you His salvation. (Psalm 91:15-16)
Faith in the Lord is a struggle in ordinary life. Faith in the Lord when our world seems so dark/hopeless and the battle seems too much to bear is an enormous struggle. However, it is a good fight because it is a fight against those things that try to deceive and destroy you. Catch those harsh condemning voices — they are not from your Lord, pause, and look to Him, turn to His life-giving words. May the Lord guard your heart and mind against the attempts of the evil one to derail you (Ephesians 6:10-18) — as he does at one time or another to all God’s people. Also, I pray that the Lord surrounds you with loving and wise believers who encourage you, be present with you, comfort you and share your burdens these days.
You are not struggling alone there. Christ is with you, and He is the founder and perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). He is your life (Colossians 3:3-4; Galatians 2:20)! His Spirit is the One who works in you and calls you to depend on Him moment by moment and respond to Him by repentance and faith (Psalm 63:8, Philippians 2:12-13). Your neediness and weakness is the doorway to His grace and strength (2 Corinthians 12:9)! Do not give up. Keep looking to Christ. One step at a time, one day at a time. Let yourself rest when you need to. I understand that right now it can be hard for you to see hope. Yet, I hope for you in Christ. As Christ is, has been, and will continue to be your true hope, no matter how weak or strong now you think your faith is. “Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
Thanks be to the Lord. Thanks to David Powlison, Diane Langberg, and Dale Kuiken, as wisdom in this article is gleaned from them.
– Kaifang Zheng –