February 9, 2023

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?    

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I take counsel in my soul

  and have sorrow in my heart all the day?

How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;

  light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”

  lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;

  my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

I will sing to the Lord,

  because he has dealt bountifully with me.

-Psalm 13

Depression is a common mental health condition that affects millions of people around the world. It is characterized by symptoms such as sadness, hopelessness, emptiness, apathy, and physical symptoms like muscle pain, fatigue, and loss of appetite. It can be incredibly difficult for those struggling with depression to engage with their faith and find comfort in God.

However, Christians have a rich history of engaging with the emotions of depression through the practice of lament. Lament is a powerful tool that allows us to express our deepest, darkest emotions with honesty and authenticity, while still holding onto hope and trust in God. In the Psalms, we see many examples of laments, with the Psalmist expressing their frustration, sadness, and fear, while still turning to God for help and comfort.

One particularly poignant example of lament is found in Psalm 13, where David pours out his heart to God, expressing his feelings of being forgotten and unseen, and struggling with sorrow and despair. Despite these feelings, David cries out to God for consideration, a word from Him, and the ability to see God’s light again. He then speaks the truth over his circumstances and feelings, rooted in God’s past faithfulness and worthiness of his trust.

Lament helps us to avoid falling into the lies of our enemy, by acknowledging the reality of our emotions, but not giving into despair. It recognizes that there is no darkness that God cannot light up with his presence, and helps us to rest in the hope that comes from knowing God and his faithfulness. It is a form of transformation, helping us to grow in trust and ultimately getting more of Jesus.

Jesus himself invites those who are struggling and heavy-laden to come to him, promising to give them rest. As Christians, we are never meant to struggle alone. We are called to bear one another’s burdens, and to invite others into our darkness, sharing it with our community.

If you are struggling with depression, know that you are not alone, and that there is support available to you. Reach out to a trusted friend, join a care group, or speak to a biblical counselor. You can find resources and support by reaching out to our Pastor of Care at pastorjeffl@springlakechurch.org or visiting our Care Ministry page.