“Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand, Or in his disaster therefore cry out for help?
Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge Until destruction passes by.
Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them.
When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.
Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther, poet and hymn writer William Cowper, Mother Teresa, and contemporary author Ann Voskamp—each has been recognized for their devotion to Jesus. And each has also battled depression.
I’ve heard people say that followers of Christ can’t suffer from depression due to the joy we have in Jesus. Those who do, they say, suffer with it because of some sin. Others say depression can be prayed away if we simply have enough faith. But depression is complex and can be fueled by many factors including painful life circumstances, chemical imbalances, shame, and other challenges.
I speculate that the prophet Elijah suffered from at least one episode of depression. After he helped the widow at Zarephath (1 Kings 17:8-24), he challenged the prophets of Baal and was victorious over them (I Kings 18:18-40). He also prayed that God would send rain on the drought-stricken land, and God did. Yet on the heels of God’s mighty and spectacular deeds, Elijah grew afraid and depressed when Queen Jezebel sought revenge and vowed to kill him (I Kings 19:2-4). As a result, he fled to Mount Sinai where God met with him. Notice the loving-kindness of God. He didn’t scold Elijah for his despair, but like a nurturing parent He took care of him by providing food and drink while Elijah slept under a broom tree (I Kings 19:4-8).
Maybe you’ve suffered from depression or know someone who has. Maybe you feel isolated and are hopeless. Let me remind you—you’re not alone. God cares deeply for you. He wants you to be whole. Please consider seeking medical care and advice and telling trusted people what you’re going through. You don’t have to suffer alone.
Don’t Take Comfort in Fear!
From: Sarah Limardo, author, and CBN
Over the weekend, my husband granted my seven-month-long wish to have a cat. Even though he doesn’t like cats, there’s something about me that just needs to love something furry and cute.
It seems like such a small thing, but I prayed for this kitten for months. I prayed that she would be happy and healthy, and that we could give her a good home she felt safe in. I was devoted to my pet before I even knew her.
I wanted a calico, and when I arrived at the pet store, there she was. She slept in her litter box and didn’t approach the cage door when I called. She stared at me, and something in my heart tugged. I loved her, so I brought her home and set her up with her own little space in the laundry room.
My cat wasn’t the happy cat I expected right off the bat. She’s happy, and thankfully doesn’t sleep in her litter box, but she seeks refuge behind the washing machine where we can’t reach her easily. I’ve resorted to climbing on top of the appliances to feed her, dropping one piece of food after another into her hungry jaws. I pet her head and she purrs, and stares at me when I pull my hand away, waiting for more. She’s an absolute sucker for affection, but she won’t come out to get it yet.
After a day and a half of trying to coax her out, I turned to my husband and said, “If only she knew it was okay to come out, she would see it’s warmer out here and she can have all the love she wants.”
God nudged me then. How many times had I resisted him while he patiently waited for me to step into his arms? How long had I left him calling to me while I stayed where I was comfortable and refused to step out into something better for me?
Revelation 3:20 says, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” (NLT)
I understand the Father’s love a little better now. Of all the times I’ve hidden with my pain and past hurt, staying where I knew I would be safe, he’s been there with more love in his heart than I realized. And he gently coaxed me out, and still does to this day, to show me that with him there is nothing but warmth, love, and a happy and healthy life. He is always here as a friend and a loving father. He’s already come to me—I just need to step out and greet him.
As I try to get my kitten to understand that there is nothing to fear because I love her, God impresses the same truth on my heart. There is no fear in His love. He says, “For I hold you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘don’t be afraid. I am here to help you” (Isaiah 41:13, NLT).
We shouldn’t be comfortable in our fear. God has so many good things for us, and we need only to step out and be vulnerable to a God who loves us more than we can imagine.
Individual Discouragement and Personal Growth
Moses saw the oppression of his people and felt certain that he was the one to deliver them, and in the righteous indignation of his own spirit he started to right their wrongs. After he launched his first strike for God and for what was right, God allowed Moses to be driven into empty discouragement, sending him into the desert to feed sheep for forty years. At the end of that time, God appeared to Moses and said to him, “ ‘…bring My people…out of Egypt.’ But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go…?’ ” (Exodus 3:10-11). In the beginning Moses had realized that he was the one to deliver the people, but he had to be trained and disciplined by God first. He was right in his individual perspective, but he was not the person for the work until he had learned true fellowship and oneness with God.
We may have the vision of God and a very clear understanding of what God wants, and yet when we start to do it, there comes to us something equivalent to Moses’ forty years in the wilderness. It’s as if God had ignored the entire thing, and when we are thoroughly discouraged, God comes back and revives His call to us. And then we begin to tremble and say, “Who am I that I should go…?” We must learn that God’s great stride is summed up in these words— “I AM WHO I AM…has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14). We must also learn that our individual effort for God shows nothing but disrespect for Him— our individuality is to be rendered radiant through a personal relationship with God, so that He may be “well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). We are focused on the right individual perspective of things; we have the vision and can say, “I know this is what God wants me to do.” But we have not yet learned to get into God’s stride. If you are going through a time of discouragement, there is a time of great personal growth ahead.