June 7, 2016

Psalm 13:2, 5-6 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
for he has been good to me.

Here we have clear evidence that David got depressed, but he knew what to do about it. Verse 2 is a pretty accurate description of depression, and the last two verses are an excellent prescription for overcoming it. Depression essentially looks inward and fails to find the resources it’s looking for. Singing to God in recognition of His abundant grace and blessings is the perfect antidote. The thing is, when we’re depressed we certainly don’t feel like singing praise. That’s the key: choosing to act differently from what our emotions are saying. This isn’t hypocrisy, it is recognizing that God is greater than our emotions as well as our circumstances, and acting accordingly. Being self-centered never turns out well. Not only does it fail to bring genuine happiness, it often leads to depression and even suicide. Actually, suicide is the ultimate self-centered act. We were created for relationship as social beings. That’s why the two great commandments, as designated by Jesus, deal with love. (Matthew 22:37-39) There can be no love without an object for that love, because love is outward; self-love doesn’t cut it. Our primary love, our primary relationship, is to be toward God, and secondary to that is loving people. Depression is inseparable from being self-centered. If we are focused first on God, we realize that His resources are always greater than whatever it is we are facing. If we really see and love the people around us, we will allow God’s grace and blessings to flow through us to them, and everyone is blessed.

Talk about timely! I had just said to Cathy that I felt “under-rested and overwhelmed.” That can happen only when my focus is on me and my feelings, instead of on God and what He is doing through me to bless others. The whole issue of depression and being self-centered is so easy to see when I look at others, but then I fall into it myself. This is a reminder that I have no high horse from which to look down or talk down to others. I am as much in need of the grace and mercy of God as they are, so I need to choose to focus first on God and then on those whom He wants to touch through me. If I will do that, depression will not be an issue.

Father, thank You for this experience. I have recently felt somewhat exasperated at people who couldn’t seem to grasp this truth, but You have reminded me that every blessing is Your grace. I ask for wisdom to communicate Your truth more effectively so that we may all submit to You and resist the devil effectively, (James 4:7) to walk in Your victory at all times in every area, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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