Tag: depression

A Sermon for Brian and Jayson

A Sermon for Brian and Jayson

The recent suicide of a colleague got me to thinking about the despair and depression that many face and it took me back to 2005 and the death of an old friend’s younger brother. This is the sermon I wish I could have been there to preach for Brian and I wish I could be there to preach this for Jayson. I could not, in either case, be there but I want to share their sermon in hopes that it will provide comfort for those who are newly grieving or are grieving still…

There exist what I call Psalms in the Key of Mourning. Let us look at one:

Psalm 88

Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out before you day and night. May my prayer reach your presence; listen to my cry.

For I have had enough troubles, and my life is near Sheol.
I am counted among those going down to the Pit. I am like a man without strength, abandoned among the dead. I am like the slain lying in the grave, whom you no longer remember, and who are cut off from your care. You have put me in the lowest part of the Pit, in the darkest places, in the depths. Your wrath weighs heavily on me; you have overwhelmed me with all your waves. Selah

You have distanced my friends from me; you have made me repulsive to them. I am shut in and cannot go out. My eyes are worn out from crying. Lord, I cry out to you all day long; I spread out my hands to you. 10 Do you work wonders for the dead? Do departed spirits rise up to praise you? Selah
11 Will your faithful love be declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Abaddon? 12 Will your wonders be known in the darkness or your righteousness in the land of oblivion? 13 But I call to you for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer meets you.
14 Lord, why do you reject me? Why do you hide your face from me? 15 From my youth, I have been suffering and near death.
I suffer your horrors; I am desperate. 16 Your wrath sweeps over me; your terrors destroy me. 17 They surround me like water all day long; they close in on me from every side. 18 You have distanced loved one and neighbor from me; darkness is my only friend.

 

We can relate to the psalmist, can’t we? What should we learn from the psalmist?

Cry out to God, He is there

In the blackest midnight, God is there. Another Psalm teaches “Even though I walk through the darkest valley of death’s shadow, I do not fear for You are with me.” God the Son, incarnated in the person of Jesus Christ, walked through the same valleys we walk. That is why we do not fear. The LORD has walked the path ahead of us, and guiding us by the hand, leads us along our paths.

He is El Roi (Pronounced as El Roe-ee), the God who sees.

Genesis 16:13, NASB: “Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, ‘You are a God who sees’; for she said, ‘Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?’

El Roi is best translated, “You are the God who sees me.” He is the God who is watching us and will tend to our needs.

There are times when we refer to YHWH Shammah, the Lord who is there. In those references, we are referring to God being in the midst of His holy people, the redeemed.

God understands your deepest pain and there is rest planned

Revelation 22:1-5

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

In the words of the song, “No more dying there, we are going to see the King.”

No longer will there be any curse-All of the attendant griefs and struggles that come with our fallen nature will be, in that moment, gone. When we shall see the King of Mercy, every tear is promised to be gone.

Revelation 21:4 (ESV)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

My dear friend, indeed you weep for the moment and my heart breaks for your pain so that I weep with you. But that weeping cannot last forever, God has promised not to allow it.

 Grieve the darkness

Weep and mourn; the Lord draws near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). The Lord God, Himself binds your wounds. The very One who cried out that God had forsaken Him can understand your despair and will pour oil on the wound and bind it up so that your hurt can heal.

Trust the Savior, he is an immovable rock

I have dealt with deep depression, though I do not share it much, and I want to share two verses from Isaiah the Prophet that have always been a comfort to me in the darkness of depression.

Isaiah 43:11 (KJV)

11 I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no savior.

Isaiah 44:8

Do not be startled or afraid. Have I not told you and declared it long ago?
You are my witnesses! Is there any God but Me? There is no other Rock; I do not know any.

Like Spurgeon, I have learned to kiss the waves that cast me upon the Rock of Ages. A final verse for your comfort:

Malachi 3:6 (KJV) I, the Lord, change not.

God will not change. His promise to be with His people forever and death will not change that. Death is no more than God’s butler; he will show us to the King’s Throne Room.

Let us pray:

Almighty and most merciful God, we call out for your comfort. Our hearts grieve with words we cannot express. We can only groan in our despair but You search the heart and know our pain. Would you bind up our wounded hearts and minister peace to us? Amen

 

Comfort for the depressed Lesson Notes

Comfort for the depressed Lesson Notes

First, a definition of depression: Depression is a prolonged feeling of despondency or dejection.

Is depression sinful? No, it isn’t. Depression is a warning built into both the body and the spirit to alert you that something is wrong, most likely very wrong. Feelings of depression should never be left unattended as the disease can turn deadly without warning (suicidal thoughts and/or actions)

Depression has only two source categories, bio-mechanical error or spiritual error and there are differences in how both should be handled. In either case, wisdom commands that care begins with your doctor to determine if the depression is caused by a physical problem or a spiritual.

Physical causes of depression include:

  • Side effects of medication
  • Poor sleep and/or poor respiration during sleep
  • Dietary issues
  • Prolonged physical illnesses such diabetes, cancer, lupus

Any or all physical causes of depression can be remedied by your doctor. Spiritual causes of depression, on the other hand, require more sensitivity and care. I want to focus on care of depressed people.

Realize that it is not always your fault. Sin separates us from communion with God and sickness is a part of the curse.

 God is able to comfort the hurting (2 Samuel 22:29-31, Hebrews 4:15) All too often we come to the idea that God does not understand us or how we are feeling. We need to disabuse ourselves of this idea and remember that the 2nd Person of the Trinity, the Divine Son, walked on Earth as a man and is, forever, the God-man in heaven.

We remember the words of the Apostle in his letter to the Hebrew Christians telling us that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.”  In the hymn, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, we are reminded that “Jesus knows our every weakness.”

God is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18) One of the titles of the Holy Spirit is Comforter. As the Spirit of Christ, He knows all of our cares and sufferings and draws close to minister to us in our times of darkness. The Holy Spirit is the Shepherd of Psalm 23 through Whom we fear no evil. He also illumens the Scripture and hymns to our minds to bring the peace of God into our lives.

Abraham had hope when there was no cause for hope (Romans 4:18-22) So also may we have hope when there seems to be no reason for our hope. In the blackest midnight of our sufferings, Christ is our hope. He is our hope of life everlasting, our hope of no more suffering, and our hope of everlasting peace.

In the Eternal State, God will wipe away every tear (Revelation 21:4) At last, in the Eternal Kingdom, when Jesus,  Himself, is the reward of our suffering, every tear will be wiped away. Every travail will be worth it.

This is our hope, that we will be with Christ forever. That hope can sustain us through any darkness and any depression.

 

Depression, Quick Scripture Reference Guide

Depression, Quick Scripture Reference Guide

In advance of Sunday’s lesson on the Bible and Depression, we are offering this Quick Scripture Reference Guide on depression:

 

  • Depression often follows exhausting times (Judges 15:18)

  • God is able to comfort the hurting (2 Samuel 22:29-31)

  • God is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18)

  • Abraham had hope when there was no cause for hope (Romans 4:18-22)

  • In the Eternal State, God will wipe away every tear (Revelation 21:4)