by Nathalie Jeter
Those who have experienced depression will tell you it’s like a light switch has been turned off in their soul. “Just get over it” is not an option. Thinking positive thoughts simply doesn’t cut it. Being told that depression is selfish or that they should spend more time praying often makes matters worse, not better.
I wonder if Jesus was talking about depression when he made reference to “how great is that darkness” in the passage below:
The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Matt. 6:22-23 (NIV, emphasis mine)
Like many passages in the Bible, these words can be taken literally or figuratively. If your eyes are bad (i.e. if you are blind) then all you can see is darkness; if your eyesight is good, you can see the bright sun, blue sky, leafy trees – your whole perspective changes. But figuratively, if your eyes are bad (i.e. if your outlook is bleak) then you can end up in an emotional darkness that leaves you feeling helpless and alone.
And speaking of being helpless and alone, do you remember those miners rescued last October in Chile? They were in darkness for 69 long, hot, scary, miserable days. When they were finally lifted to the light, they had to put on sunglasses even indoors to shield their sensitive eyes, especially from the bright lights of the TV cameras wanting to capture their every move.
How bright the world seems to those who have been in darkness! How full of joy and optimism the miners’ hearts were as they were rescued and literally brought from darkness to light!
“I buried 40 years of my life down there,” said Mario Sepulveda, one of the miners. “I think I have learned a lot of wonderful lessons about taking the good path in life.”
The same is true when God rescues us from the darkness of ignorance and sin. Our hearts are overjoyed when we first begin to grasp the light of salvation and the hope, peace, and joy that come as part of the “complete package.”
But sometimes even as Christians our perspective slips. Our eyes grow dark again, and we go through times of depression and sadness that nothing seems to help. Where is the One who will rescue us? How great is that darkness.
Even King David, a man after God’s own heart, cried out:
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death.” Psalm 13:1, 3 (NIV, emphasis mine)
Do you suffer with pain so deep that you can’t even share it with your closest friends? Are you tired of feeling helpless and hopeless? You may be going through a season where you want to cry out, “Lord, is there anyone else up there I can talk to?” But whether you fall into a literal pit or a figurative one, God will not leave you in the miry pit forever. He is there to lift you out.
Hold on! Don’t lose hope! The Rescuer is on his way.
Nathalie Jeter is the author of the guidebook PrayerWalk Beijing and blogs about travel, food, and prayer at http://www.prayerwalkguides.com/.