. . . you are hope-full!
Depression is many things. We know today that depression can be a chemical imbalance. We know that depression can be seasonal. Some say that depression is anger, others say sadness, still others say loneliness. I suspect many people feel all of these at the same time and much more. But I think a common thread runs through depression, no matter how it is caused. Depression is a loss of hope.
Where do you go when hope is gone? What do you do? Try harder? Work smarter or faster? When your car is stuck in the snow bank, does it help to spin the tires faster? No, when hope is gone, giving up seems reasonable. Depression, for some people, is that closed loop between the logical decision to give up and the heart desire for something to be different.
I have believed for years that there is a strong correlation in our hearts between hope and help. In fact, the Greek word for hope sounds like help. The Scriptures use help to communicate assistance or comfort or relief. But help isn’t what we need when we are discouraged. In those times when we look ahead and see no change, no progress, despair comes easily—not because we have no help, but because we know that more help won’t help. We need hope.
We need something outside ourselves. When trying harder doesn’t do it and we have tried all the ways we know or care to try, there just isn’t any more we can draw out of ourselves. The legalist comes along and tells us to stop being sad or angry, to put a smile on our faces and push forward, but we have done all that and it didn’t help. The old line, “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me,” is a lie. We think, “If it’s up to me, it isn’t going to be.”
And we need a person. More and better rules or methods aren’t the answer. An idol of rock or wood won’t be enough. Another book to read, another class to attend, another trick to try—these things aren’t what we need. They all tell us to draw more from ourselves and we are tired. Drugs may help to soften the pain and exercise may cause new blood to flow in our veins, but what do we do when there just isn’t any more, when we have given all we have to the cause?
And we need a person bigger than the people we know. As long as our helper is “just like me” we have little hope. Certainly others can encourage and love, but the hope we need is more than they can provide. We need someone bigger than this world, someone who is stronger than the problems of life. Fellow sufferers are important, but they don’t give us hope.
There is a Person who loves you, Someone who is bigger than your problems, bigger than the world. He has come to you in Jesus. Jesus is the Lord God Almighty in human flesh. Somehow, by a great mystery, God came into our world TO BE OUR HOPE!
And you and I have hope. There is no problem that can overcome us, because we look to Him. There is no situation that can move us to despair, because He is there and He is real. And He has promised that those who come to Him through Jesus will find life and freedom and love forever.
One of the verses of Amazing Grace we often skip over is so important for us.
The Lord has promised good to me…
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.
David certainly understood this. He struggled with his feelings. I think he suffered from depression. Like us, he forgot from time to time that God was with him and loved him. He began to look at the opposition he faced or the troubles he suffered and his own weakness. When he did that, he began to despair. But God lovingly and patiently drew David back and so many of the Psalms end with praises to the Lord. God was David’s hope.
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance. Psalm 42:5
When we struggle, the Lord is our hope. When the world seems to be too much, there is One who is bigger. When we can draw nothing more from ourselves, He is there with plenty.
But listen: if you know someone who is struggling, be sure to remind them in love of the One who loves them. Don’t tell them to have more faith or to buck it up because of Jesus. Tell them they are loved and there is One who is greater than their problems.
There is hope in the Lord. The day of peace will come. The future is good. The results of your project are in His hands. He loves your children more than you do. There is no failure for those who walk with Him. There is no sin that can separate you from Him.
Those who belong to Jesus are full of hope, even when they forget.