Depression; December 2, 2021

Psalm 42:8 By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me–
a prayer to the God of my life.

Depression is a strange thing. Its origins can be complex, involving both physical factors and circumstantial ones. The Psalmist here doesn’t fully understand his own depression, because it seems to stem from physical ailment that causes those around him to say that God has abandoned him, even while within himself he knows that God’s love (the Japanese says grace) is still poured out on him. That’s why he repeatedly reminds himself to put his hope in God. (verses 5 and 11, as well as 43:5, which was probably part of the same Psalm originally) All of this points to the reality that we are pretty well constantly under attack from the enemy of our souls, the devil. He is always out to steal, kill, and destroy, (John 10:10) and his prime targets are our peace and joy. We need to be aware of that, and, as James said, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) Too often we make excuses for the devil, instead of resisting him! Submission to God needs to be the fundamental attitude of our life, from which everything else comes. On that foundation we can then call the devil the liar that he is, and choose to stand firmly in the flow of God’s love and grace over and through us. As Peter said, we’ve got to “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8-9) Whatever we’re going through, someone else is going through the same or worse, but that doesn’t mean God’s love and grace have failed in the least. It is when we keep our eyes on Jesus and stay rooted in Him that we walk in the victory that He has provided for us. (John 16:33, Hebrews 12:2)

This is very timely because the attacks have picked up, as they always seem to at this time of year. Somewhat to my own surprise, my emotional mood went down yesterday when I got chilled doing work on our outdoor manger scene, and particularly with difficulties getting the timer set for the spotlight on that. Then this morning I woke up with a sinus headache. In spite of that, I woke up with the hymn, Morning has Broken, in my mind and heart. Year-end busyness and stress attack me every year, and I should be used to it by now! This is a time of multiplied opportunities to share the Gospel, and that is why the intensity of the battle picks up. I am to remember God’s love and grace at all times and keep my hope in Him, whatever seems to be going on around me, so that His rule and reign may be established as His will is done in, through, and by me, for His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You also that this too will pass. Help me remember that any troubles I might have are indeed “light and momentary,” (2 Corinthians 4:17) and rest, relax, and rejoice in You, 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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