By Joy Lopes
Staff Writer for The Daily Grace Co.
Note: If you are experiencing depressed thoughts and feelings that are interfering with your daily life, it is possible that you may be battling clinical depression. If you think this may be the case for you, please tell someone, and seek the help of a medical professional so that you can walk the road to management and healing of the pain. Either way, Jesus speaks to every feeling of despair, clinical or otherwise. I pray that this post encourages you and that the greatest Healer would comfort your heart and mind as you read.
Maybe it was hard to get out of bed today. Or maybe you never got up. Maybe you’re surfing your phone instead because movement feels foreign, and standing upright would only increase the apathy in your chest—the feeling that doing anything, even things your normally enjoy, is not only impossible but seems utterly purposeless. What difference does it make? The world keeps going whether or not you feel strong enough to face it.
Maybe this is a new feeling for you. Or maybe the heaviness in your chest has been a constant companion for years. Maybe this visitor stays with you on and off, stopping by at the most unexpected times to remind you of thoughts you live to forget. You’ve tried to reason away the sadness, telling yourself those events are in the past. But why do the memories keep haunting you? They’re incessant, and they pull you down deeper into waters you don’t know how to navigate.
Maybe there are sad memories in your mind like that. Or maybe there are no dark recollections. Maybe the pain is in the present. You’ve lost or been wounded by someone you love, and moving forward seems like lifting a ton of bricks up onto your shoulders: impossible. How can you go on without that person’s presence? How can you manage the pain that he or she caused? Carrying yourself through the day feels just as heavy a job as those bricks.
Maybe you’re battling overwhelming pain like that, and it’s causing this darkness. Or maybe there is nothing. Maybe nothing goes through your mind as you lay in bed this morning or sit at your desk at work or lie on the floor trying to catch your breath between the sobs. You don’t know why you feel so hopeless, and nothing in your life seems to reconcile with the thoughts in your heart. The despair has nothing to do with your circumstances, but you just can’t shake the weight in your chest.
Maybe you have been accused of sinning because of your chronic sadness, which isn’t true. Or maybe people have shared empty platitudes in an attempt to encourage you, but those felt like slaps on the wrist. Maybe well-intentioned friends have spoken Scripture over you, but it only sounded like promises you didn’t know how to believe. You want to hear the truth, but you need someone to hear the dark thoughts in your head too. How can you utter the words that go through your mind? Would anyone understand? The risk of potential misunderstanding or rejection is too threatening.
Maybe one of these situations describes you. Or maybe several. Maybe you’re relieved to hear someone describe the feeling you’ve been experiencing. Dear friend, you are not alone. Whatever is causing you such great sadness, my heart is heavy for you in your pain today. If there seems to be no cause, I see you there too. The world is so broken—your feelings of sorrow are not surprising. But is there hope? Oh, dear one, there is more than we could ever imagine. But this is not a hope you have to manufacture; it is one you can cling to in certainty, even if you never “feel” it here on earth. Complete healing is coming, and there is sufficient help to carry you through this day, every hour, each moment.
Maybe you’re expecting me to give you a verse to cling to, because there are oh-so-many. Or maybe you fear I’ll end with another attempt to “fix” you. Maybe you’re not sure you want to read the end of anymore articles on depression because they all sum up with a “solution” and leave you in the sadness—more discouraged because you can’t muster the strength they tell you to have.
I have no empty promises for you. I just want you to know this full one: Jesus is with you. Don’t stop reading, don’t shake your head. He weeps with you and over you. His Spirit is praying for you to the Father when you don’t even know what to say (Romans 8:26). Let your pain press you into His presence, and don’t be afraid to share your heart with someone you trust. Pray with me, friend.
I know your heart is tender towards me and wonderfully compassionate. You know me intimately—more than I even know myself. Jesus, You are well acquainted with grief, and You understand the heaviness I feel, better than anybody else. This brokenness is what You came to earth to mend—so it doesn’t surprise You. You were broken too, by my sin. You felt the depths of my sadness, and You knew a pain even greater than the one I live with. In tender compassion, You overcame every shred of darkness so that in You, I could one day know that freedom too. And Your promises are true even when I don’t know how to believe them–oh Holy Spirit, help me to believe them. You have allowed my heart and mind to tend toward sorrow; in my soul there is a propensity for grief that often overtakes me. But in these weights, there is no smiting, no divine punishment, even though my sins are many.
In this You teach me solace: to grieve in hope and to weep near You is to glimpse a little more deeply into the fountain of Your Being. The strength of my weakness presses me deeper into the breast of Strength Himself, and there I can hear ever more clearly the beating of Your heart beneath. To grieve in hope is to know more of You, Jesus, the perfect weeper. You speak, oh Man of Sorrows, of this acquaintance; You speak of grief to Your bride, taking her hand in Your own bloodstained one, and You lead her to repentance and new life. Thank You for walking beside me and weeping with me, Lord. You tell me of hope ahead, even when my eyes are too feeble to see it.