Do you ever have those days — weeks — years, when your spiritual blood runs cold, when your deer-panting thirst has seemingly dried up? Or when you’re parched, dying for a drink from God, but his springed-up well seems to be saturating other cracked hearts but not yours?
Disclaimer: There’s no such thing as a simple cure for spiritual depression. But you knew that. There are, however, some stories to remember as you wait in this apparent spiritual wasteland for the showers of grace to whet your soul again. (In no certain order…they’re all important:-)!
Remember the stories of believers who have gone before: Elijah hiding in that cave (1 Kings 19); Jonah running 2500 miles in the other direction from where God told him to go; Jesus agonizing in the garden (Luke 22:44), sweating blood as he asked his Father to take the cup from him. Satan will try to tell you you’re the only one who has ever doubted, disobeyed, or dried up. Satan is a liar, and Scripture exposes him (Hebrews 10:13).
Remember the Word. What simple short lines of the Script can you recall in this moment of stage fright
- “The Lord is near; do not be anxious for anything…” (Phil. 4:5-6)
- “He who is faithful will do it…” (1 Thess. 5:24)
- “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it…” (Phil. 1:6)
- “How long, Oh Lord? Will you forget me forever?” (Ps. 13:1)
Pin these to your Pinterest board, tape them to your mirror, or tie them onto your forehead like the ancient Jews did, and let the Author move your heart to live in his story.
Hang out with people who will remind you of God’s Word and the gospel life. Maybe you can’t remember the Script, or what you do remember just seems to accuse….
You need people. Preachers, teachers, friends who remind you of what the gospel is all about — the gracious, merciful, Holy God, sent a completely perfect, righteous Son to save us — a sinful people, completely unable to save ourselves with any 4 tricks or 5 tips…
You need prayer. Scrawl “help” on the prayer request sheet, text someone who has said they would pray for you — don’t worry about not being able to verbalize your request — the Spirit knows.
You need to hear the stories of other people’s struggles and doubt and pain…of other people’s redemption and rescue…to see how our odd God has worked before in his own apparently ridiculous timing in his own bizarre methods (a talking ass — Balaam’s donkey). And you need to tell your story. Even when all you can really say is “I don’t think I have a story right now,” or, “I sure as heck don’t understand the story God is writing right now.”
Remember God tells his story through general revelation. It may be a lone sunflower surprise sprouting from dried red clay or an ungainly pelican flapping its wings. Or possibly the impossible happens and the consignment store has a sparkling NWT designer dress that’s just right for your daughter’s wedding … Look. Listen. God is showing and speaking his might and mercy in every nook and cranny of his universe.
Remember that seasons of spiritual depression are often connected to the broken stories that are the fallout of the fall. Sometimes what you’re experiencing is interconnected with physiological depression, anxiety, or stress. And God has well-equipped particular people: counselors, physicians, coaches, and others to hear our stories and offer the help that will prepare us to receive the hope of the gospel.
So remember your predecessors, think about God’s Word, admit you need his people, look for God in general revelation, and get the help you need. We’d love to hear your stories. Have you ever experienced a season of spiritual depression? What helped you in the midst?