2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.Galatians 6:2 New King James Version (NKJV)
Although we in the body of Christ do our best to support, nurture, and carry each other’s burdens, when it comes to our neighbor’s depression many of us miss the mark. We may promise to pray and suggest helpful Scripture verses about casting our cares on God, but secretly we may think depression is more of a choice than an actual condition.
Those of us with diabetes are susceptible to bouts of depression, as are people suffering with many other physical conditions. In my case, stress and sleeplessness, either alone or combined, raise my blood sugar and trigger the feelings of overwhelming tiredness and discouragement I associate with depression.
Fresh air and exercise are often recommended for mild depression but the last thing a depressed person feels like doing is going out and doing anything. Lack of desire and motivation are hallmarks of depression. “If I could make myself get up and get out, I probably wouldn’t be depressed in the first place.”
When I feel the gloom creeping in, I try to meditate on the Word and turn to God in prayer… if I’m not already too depressed, that is. The trouble with depression is that its very nature sabotages attempts to overcome it. While I would love to think that my faith is sufficient to move mountains, I must admit that my faith can be undermined, if not completely undone, by my fickle emotions. Emotions are strong. Emotions are real. Emotions cannot be trusted.
I’m one of the lucky ones. A visit with caring friends and family and a good night’s sleep usually pulls me out of my personal slough of despond.
It’s important to remember that a person suffering from clinical depression can’t just “cheer up,” or “snap out of it,” and while God goes with us through the dark valleys, prayers are not magical incantations meant to sweep away all our struggles, and severe depression is not a case of too little faith.
It’s tempting to advise our depressed brother or sister to simply lean on Jesus, but we are His body, His everlasting arms. We need to reach out to those who are too depressed to reach up.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.Romans 12:15