Monday, June 3, 2013

Feeling Lost? Forlorn? Kinda Down? Jesus and Your Depression.

British artist William Dyce’s depiction of Ecclesiastes’ refrain that everything is meaningless
William Dyce (1806-1864) titled
“Omnia Vanitas” - “Everything is vanity” 
God is chiefly characterized by love and mercy that leads Him to forgive our sins. 

We do praise our Lord when He calls us together into His merciful presence. We praise Him, not only for His presence but also that He makes us holy by forgiving our sins through faith in Jesus Christ. 

Life is filled with countless emotional swings, from joy and excitement to sorrow and depression, yes even death. Often, depression looks like laziness, irresponsibility, and even rudeness.

Sometimes we wonder if it is all worth it (Ecclesiastes 2:17-23). Most likely, you know someone - who is in emotional pain; who is depressed; who struggles emotionally; someone who needs help. How does a Christian deal with emotional problems and depression?

Depression and the Christian

I dare not try to deal with this topic as if there is a quick fix. There isn't. However, I can, only in the big picture of Christianity, say that sin - (not sins) - the state of a sinful world - is what brings our misery and depression. The hope and help is in Christ's cross of suffering, where He paid for sin (condition) and all of our actual sins. He knows the pain and suffering that we go through. His mercy and love is the gift that comes to you by faith in His work. Each day is a resurrection in our baptisms. Each day is a merciful new beginning. Each day is a victory the Christ earned for you. 

Depression as a Calling - Feels Like a Crisis of Faith

Dealing with depression, like all vocations, is a call from God to make use of the gifts He gives you in scripture and creation. Gifts of creation are friendship, doctors, medicine, church, counselors; hospitals, and family. He is present through creation, using all of these resources because He is their creator. 

It may feel like a crisis of faith, but rather it is the strength of your faith. Your faith is God's work, not yours. 

He is present for mercy and forgiveness through Our Savior in Word and Sacraments. He calls you in your worse times of anxiety, fear, and loathing to rejoice in His presence and be fed with His body and blood. It is the presence of God that feeds you with the Eternal Feast of Victory. This victory is yours by faith, and still, emotionally, humanly, you will still struggle. But faith has conquered it because Christ conquered it. It doesn't mean it will go away. It means He now walks through it with you and gives you strength to work through it.

God will use your emotional problems and even depression to strengthen you. Then in the same comfort you received from God, you will serve others so that they might know of His mercy and hope; His comfort and victory; His peace and forgiveness (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).

Resource and Blog - A Free Download

I Trust When Dark My Road is a free 100 page booklet from LCMS World Relief and Human Care that talks about a Lutheran view of depression. It is written by Pastor Todd Pepperkorn, who is a pastor in California. You can download the booklet here.

Pastor Peperkorn's blog is a realistic walk through life for those who suffer from depression. As you can imagine, it is sometimes dark, sometimes a trigger for so many emotions, however, there are so many insights to life with depression and you will learn a lot. You can also learn about other resources and how the struggle continues.

Grant peace, we pray, In mercy, Lord;

Peace in our time, oh send us.

For there is none on earth but You, None other to defend us.

You only, Lord, can fight for us. Amen. (LSB 778)

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