Tuesday, February 4, 2014

what to do when depressed

I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. 

Psalm 77:11-12

Again I am struck by the wisdom and spiritual insight of Asaph. This is more than likely also another post-exilic psalm. It opens on a pained and troubled soul. There is no rest. Sleep evades the psalmist. Hard questions keep him up at night and well up from the turmoil within his soul: "Will God always be distant? Has His love ceased? Why is He angry all the time? When will things get better or should I just live with the fact things are bad all the time?" In short: this is spiritual depression and it is an awful pain-filled experience.

When Asaph was overwhelmed with these feelings and questions, he knew he had to make a conscious choice of personal spiritual action in order to regain control. He chose to remember God's past goodness to Israel, even in the midst of personal suffering. He made the decision to recall. His choice was not to let his feelings carry him, but instead to remember and rehearse how good God had been. This is the key to moving beyond depression. He used God's grace in the past to interpret his present so that he could find hope for his future.

I believe Asaph's method of handling depression is instructive to me. There are times when I feel like things are not going well... where everything is collapsing and I am powerless. I might feel like God is distant and uncaring. And in those moments I will choose to remember God for the perspective that I need.

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