As Christians we don't like to talk about it because as Christ followers sometimes we are told that we shouldn't struggle with depression. I've been told "you're fine", when all I wanted to do was cry. I've been told "fake it till you make it." All by well meaning and well intentioned Christians. The fact of the matter was that when I would go to church, I would put on my fake smile, fake it while I was there, then go back home and into my pj's and turn off my phone. It is exhausting to "fake it until you make it."
I remember when I finally confessed to someone I loved and trusted that I broke down finally and went to the doctor to get on anti-depressants again, the comment they made to me tore me up. Yes, I have forgiven them, but the hurt is still there until the Lord heals it. I believe it remains there so that I can get the message out there that you're not a bad person, or doing something wrong if you are depressed. When someone gets diabetes, do you tell them to suck it up and trust God? Or do you tell them they should take their medicine and go to the doctor? If someone has high blood pressure, do you tell them "fake it until you make it" and trust God, or do you tell them they should take their medicine?
Is it possible, dear Christian, that the Lord gave doctors and scientists the wisdom to create life saving medications so that we could be okay? Yes! God gave the scientists wisdom to know how to treat certain cancers. I have a dear friend who was cured of breast cancer, and while she is still in the final stages of treatment, she is on her way to recovery. What if someone told her "you're fine" and "just trust God"? and she chose not to do this life saving treatment? Sure, there is a possibility that God would miraculously cure her, but do you take that chance when there is a life saving treatment available? No! Just like with any sickness or disease or illness. If someone is throwing you a life saver and you're in the water drowning, do you tell them, "I'm trusting God to save me"? or do you take the flippin' life saver and let them pull you to safety? I don't think I need to answer that question.
Just because we are Christians does not mean that we aren't going to suffer, have problems, go through sickness and illnesses, or struggle with depression. Christ did not promise us a life of ease. If He thought we weren't going to go through junk, why would He provide scriptures such as Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Now some might argue that this scripture is for someone who doesn't know Christ. Okay, then how about the book of Job? Why did God provide us with this book? Job knew the Lord intimately. In Job 1:1 Job is referred to as a "blameless and upright" man "he feared God and shunned evil." The Lord says to satan in verse 8 "Have you considered my servant, Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." Wow!
Or how about the scripture 1 Peter 4:12 "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed." (Peter is speaking to Christ followers here) or 1 Peter 4:1 "Therefore, since Christ suffered in His body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because He who has suffered in his body is done with sin." or James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (Peter and James were both speaking to Christ followers)
My dear friend, if you are suffering from an illness just because you aren't healed yet or living in what the "world" considers "prosperous" — doesn't mean you are doing something wrong. The Apostle Paul really went through a lot while an apostle of Christ says in Phillipians 4:11-13 "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do evertyhing through Him [Christ] who gives me strength."
John the Baptist was beheaded doing the work of the Lord. Peter was hanged upside down on a cross while doing the work of the Lord. Paul was shipwrecked, stoned, left for dead, imprisoned, tormented by a "messenger of Satan (2 Cor. 12:7). Paul asked the Lord THREE times for Him to take it (the messenger of Satan) away, and the Lord responded "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9). I also believe that eventually Paul was beheaded as well. Of course, our greatest example is Jesus, who suffered the most of all. Heb. 5:8 "Although He was a son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him."
So, just because you have trials, tribulations, sickness, financial problems, kid problems, marital problems, relationship problems doesn't always mean that you are doing something wrong. We live in a fallen world. If you have an illness, its okay to go to the doctor and get medicine, and don't let anyone make you feel bad that you have to take it.
Depression is an imbalance of chemicals in the body, much like diabetes is an imbalance, high blood pressure, or heart disease, or …..the list goes on. Some people have it. Some people don't. Don't feel bad or feel like a failure if you have to get an anti-depressant because God provided wisdom to the scientists and doctors for that too — not just these other things.
Another thing, reach out to others and have a support network that will call you to reach out to you also. I am starting a women's prayer group, and am very excited to have the support and prayer support that we as women so desperately need. Again, Christian, do not think that because things aren't perfect in your life that God is not with you. God is always with you. Trust Him. Follow Him. Seek Him. Thank Him. Praise Him. He is the same yesterday and today and forever. Heb. 13:8.
Do we stop asking for healing? Absolutely not! That is not what I'm saying, but God gave us a brain to use and we should not be stupid if there is medicine or doctors available to help us during our time of illness — use them!
Recommended reading this week: anything that is in your Bible that jumps out at you. Just read it! 🙂