I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name
Friend to Friend
Children are wonderfully different.
When our son Jered was nine months old, he began to pull up on every piece of furniture he could find. For weeks, he maneuvered his way around our home until the day he took his first step … alone. It was a step of inches, but we celebrated as if he had run a marathon.
Our daughter Danna had a different plan. She never pulled up on a piece of furniture and never took “a” step. When she was ten months old, Danna stood up, looked around, and trotted across the room. Jered and Danna both walk extremely well today as young adults, but they both began with tiny steps … and in their own way.
Nobody gets depressed overnight, and nobody overcomes depression overnight. The journey out of the pit is a process of steps uniquely planned by your Father.
First, we must wait. The psalmist simply says, “I waited.” Waiting is not passive. Waiting is a time of preparation, a time of rest and healing.
Isaiah 45:3 “I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”
This verse says our Father has gone before us and, in every dark moment or painful circumstance, has buried a treasure or stored a secret. Some things cannot be learned in the light. They are reserved for the darkness. The pit of depression has become a hedge of protection in my life, a warning light that something is wrong or out of balance. To wait means to accept the pit, knowing it is for our good.
Second, we must be real. Pride often prevents us from admitting we are struggling. Emotional health begins at the point of emotional integrity. When clinical depression first overwhelmed my life, my husband was the pastor of a large, fast-growing church. We could choose to be transparent and real, or we could sweep my struggle under the rug. We decided that to be right, we had to be real. We shared my battle with the staff, the deacons, and then with the entire church. Yes, we took a risk, but we learned an important lesson. A shared load is a lighter load because we were created to need each other.
Third, we must be still. So much about God can never be known on the run. We can get so wrapped up in everyday life that we fail to be wrapped up in Him. The busier we are, the more stillness and rest we need. During those two years in the pit, I not only gave up every role of leadership, I could not even attend church at times because of panic attacks. The Father taught me an important truth. He is more concerned with who I am than what I do. He loves it when I am still … sitting at His feet.
Fourth, we must cry out for help. People struggling with depression often look for help in the wrong places. The first place we should look is God. He stands waiting to hear our voice; and when we cry out to Him, He comes running – through His Word, through prayer, and through His people.
God also works through doctors and counselors. Depression is often rooted in a physical problem that requires medication. The medicine does not eliminate the depression, but it does level the playing field so that whatever is triggering the depression can be addressed. Christian counselors are a gift from God. He knew we would need them. God also works through friends and family members to encourage and help us. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t be too proud to accept it.
Finally, we must be patient. It took me many years to hit rock bottom, and it took me two years to climb out of that pit. I still battle depression. I have asked God to deliver me, but He has said “no.” Depression keeps me broken. Anything that makes me cry out to God can be counted as a blessing. When we come to the end of ourselves, God begins.
I don’t know if you are in a pit and need help, or if someone you love is in that pit and needs help. One thing I do know is that the purpose of the pit is to purify and then to restore.
Don’t give up!
God is with you.
Father, my heart is filled with chaos and confusion. I feel as if I am drowning in my circumstances. I need the strength and peace that only You can give. Right now, I choose to rest in You, trusting You to bring me out of the darkness.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read Philippians 4:7 (NIV) “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Make a list of the dark places in your life today. Surrender each one to God. Ask Him to bring light into your heart and mind and help you walk in His peace today. When the waves of darkness come, remember each one now belongs to your Father.
More from the Girlfriends
For more help and practical ways to deal with depression in your own life or in the life of someone you love, check out Mary’s book, Hope in the Midst of Depression.