"Hope in Me, and you will be protected from depression..."
One of the women in my Bible Study gave each of us a devotional for a Christmas present. It's a wonderful book, and I am very grateful for the gift. However, as I was reading the devotional for a few days ago, something struck me as just not quite right.
"Hope in Me, and you will be protected from depression." This is one thing Jesus never said. Now, don't get me wrong, there is much to be gained from hope. It is one blessing God has given us that provides a lot of comfort, and yes, it even can help us as we go through depression. But the way this one phrase is worded, it brings to mind the thought that we will not get depressed. Ever. If we simply have hope.
This can be dangerous!
Do you, or someone you know, suffer from depression? I'm not talking about the simple down and outs we all get from time to time, but rather the honest and real medical depression? Many people have depression that comes from a chemical imbalance, or "bad wiring" (as I like to call it) of the brain. Yes, having something to hope in and for can help us to a degree. Knowing we're loved by God or others can help us to a degree. But the medical problem still stands. Sometimes medication is needed. Sometimes it can be managed through therapy. Sometimes faith, hope and love really are all that is needed. Sometimes we just learn to deal with it without medication or therapy. It all depends on the person and the type of depression they have.
When we insist that simply having hope in God will cure our depression, and that depression does not go away - the depression worsens. Significantly. Suddenly...
1. God didn't cure our depression, therefore He must not exist, or just doesn't care.
2. We're obviously not capable of hoping enough, otherwise God would care... if He exists.
3. We're just not worth it... not even to God.
The Truth in the MessageThree Bible verses accompanied the devotional for the message about hope:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
These are all power scripture verses, indeed! I do not disagree with that one bit. Nor do I disagree with the fact that God is our refuge and strength (or, should be), and that hope is a good thing. We should hope in the Lord to help us through our suffering. But to say that to hope in Him means we will not have physical or emotional suffering? Eventually, yes, that will happen. And yes, until that day comes, we should continue turning to Him in prayer. We should keep praying for and hoping for and reaching for peace and joy.
Just do not let your heart grow weary and cold when your depression is not lifted from you immediately and permanently. Understand that depression is like other diseases - cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc. But also understand that while you are suffering, God is there to hold you.
God bless you all, and remember - while this may be one thing Jesus never said, keep hoping in a brighter, peaceful tomorrow.