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CT and The Depression Epidemic

After the last post on “Feeling Down” I discovered that the March issue of Christianity Today magazine has a cover story called, “The Depression Epidemic.” I already had the issue but hadn’t read it yet and assumed it was something about the economy.

Turns out that this issue of CT has  several articles about a serious emotional and mental health issue that, during the course of our lives, affects 25% of the population with something that is more than “the blues.”

This edition of CT shows why it is important to not automatically assume that depression is only a disease, or only a spiritual problem. Several articles acknowledge the complexity of a problem that can have biological, hereditary, relational, life-experience, and spiritual roots. Also discussed is the under-use or over-use of medication, and the role that churches can play by providing compassionate, understanding, support, community, and careful referrals for those who need more help.

The lead article begins quoting the Psalm of King David who wrote, “Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak” (Ps. 31:9-10).  Author Dan Blazer goes on to say, “But most of us have no idea what David meant when he further lamented, “I am forgotten by them as though I were dead” (v.12).  Severe depression is often beyond description.” (P. 22 Christianity Today, March Issue).

Anyway was interested in the way our conversation this week dove-tails with what a lot of CT readers will also be considering.

One more thought. The CT feature on depression also includes an interview with well known preacher and author John Ortberg.   Derek Keefe points out that, in addition to his pastoral training, Ortberg has a Ph.D. in psychology and has penned two books on Depression.

In comments titled, “Connecting to Hope,” Ortberg talks about how their church provides HELP (Hope, Encouragement, Love, Prayer) groups for those suffering from mental and emotional health issues. Says that it has developed into a support group for individuals and their families. He adds, “These people will say that the single most important thing for them is to be a part of a community where other people share the same struggles, speak the same language, and are able to bear each other’s burdens.”

Before the interview concludes Ortberg notes an interesting piece of information. He says that a medical sociologist named Janice Egeland has done some research among the Amish community and found significantly less levels of certain kinds of depression than among all other segments of the population. He ends asking, “Is it possible to be in the world… but still part of a community that is alternative enough that it would actually change the incidence of depression?”

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65 Responses to “CT and The Depression Epidemic”

  1. BruceC says:


    I’m so glad that you have brought this topic up. It’s something the church truly needs to recognize and effectively deal with in the proper frame of mind and attitude. Some may not know this but I read somewhere that Charles Spurgeon dealt with bouts of depression in life. I believe it’s one of those things that nobody is immune to. It can happen to any of us.
    For those in the Body that live in populated areas and can attend larger churches there may be more help for them. Up here in the country where some congregations number only 10-30 people that is usually not the norm. Many in the body of Christ need to be more compassionate about this and not think that people are using it as an excuse or a crutch. This has happened to my wife and it hurt her deeply. But in another congregation she was lovingly accepted.
    Yes, being in that “alternative community” of believers that accept you with open arms and with love can help those who suffer and be an aid to those who may be on the edge of it. It’s why it is so important to show our love for one another rather than just stating it. Anybody can talk the talk, Christ wants us to walk the walk. Just as the brothers and sisters do here. Some of the things my wife has experienced may or may not surprise and shock some here. I hope this topic for today brings the same results the last one did. This is excellent Mart. Something I think the church really needs to deal with in love.

  2. bretnb says:

    This article reminded me of my search for a church, that I could get involved in and feel as if I was a part of some thing. It is depressing to just be on your own and have no support group or friends to be there when you need them.

    I did find a church, and I got involved in it. Gee you would not think coffee is not all that important, but be out one Sunday and your backup is late, and you see how you are missed and loved. I should change my name to “coffee guy”


  3. SFDBWV says:

    I get CT online. Am very guilty of only scaning over the headlines and if nothing “grabs” me I move on. A choice of being able to spend my time wisely. I found too often that some stories touch on but don’t answer the subject. Only stir up but not satisfy.

    I was looking over some of my journals last evening. Yes I keep a daily log of events. I used to have certain impulses while meditating on scripture or prayer, back before these past 10 years, and I would attempt to write down the emotional feelings that overpowered me.

    After events that altered my life, I was shocked to read from my own handwritting that I had been given warning of the coming change by the Holy Spirit and had written it all down…But didn’t understand untill afterwards.

    So after Matthew came home from hospital I began writting both a daily log and a scripture journal. The results as I read back over them are scripture verses that helped strengthren and prepare me for the coming days and now years of dealing with lifes new struggles.

    I have tried to repeat the process, but it seemed God only fed me what I needed, to begin the journey.

    As I tried to get Matthew the help he needed from the medical world, one of the first things his neurologist wanted to do was have Matt see a Doctor of Psychology. I balked as I don’t consider psychology a science at all and didn’t want someone I didn’t trust messing with Matt’s tender and troubled mental condition.

    After much debate I settled on 2 men. One a Dr of pyschology and graduate of VMI. The other by way of the psychologist’s concern for a more qualified specialist in the dispensing of medications for the brain. A psychiatrist.

    Both men earned my trust and Matthew and I saw them regularly for a few years. These were good fellows whose real concern was not only for Matthew’s needs but for my own as a care giver.

    However, no medication helped Matthew “feel” better about his situation. He in time refused to continue taking any medication. The only “pill” I was concerned about was a very small dosage to help Matt sleep. But we made a game of weening off them and it worked out well.

    Matthew, though suffering many effects from brain injury is actualy always been very aware of his condition and situation. He is so very well mentaly sometimes I forget he isn’t totaly the same as before.

    So he is trapped in a world he considers “heck”. As he won’t even say the word hell. My “heck” is that I can do little about the matter to give him what he wants. A normal life.

    I have tried to find support group help for Matt for years. They don’t exist here. My attempts to find help online only turn into more dissapointment for Matt. We find that the only people we can count on is us.

    We have found that the old remedy of laughter is the best medicine, still is true. So we laugh a lot, when Matt gets angry I encourage him to “let it out”. My hope is squarely on Jesus Christ. The medical world has not helped us past the original hours and days of Matt’s wreck. So we wait….and endure. Blindly believing and trusting in God.

    I cannot impart to anyone else the measure of Faith that God has given me. It is for me. But I can tell any one of you that God will not let you down. Ask him and he will give you the strength to endure your own personal crisis. Through His Son Christ Jesus.

  4. Mart De Haan says:

    Thanks, Steve, for once again giving us a small glimpse of your journey, and for expressing so clearly the faith that you know our Lord has given you. We are all so different physically, and so no one set of answers fits all. Yet as you express so well, we all need the Lord who alone is able to hold us in his hand.

    Thanks too, Bruce, for describing some of the rough roads of your experience, and Bret, for showing us a little of your heart as “the coffee guy”… :-)…

  5. Laurielee says:

    I think that in this day of more, more, more, and busy, busy, busy, along with the evil that abounds, it’s not that hard to figure out that more and more people are going to be depressed. One pattern I’ve seen is in the practice of corporate downsizing; they lay off people, but much of the work is still there to be done, with fewer people to do it. Another that I don’t think is all that uncommon among Christians is when we see evil becoming more rampant, and feel helpless or insignificant in the ability to affect change for the better. We want to do that incredibly amazing thing that will suddenly make an issue or situation turn around. There are a few things in this world that change quickly, but most are a slow process. I wonder if that’s why Jesus talked so much about ‘seeds’. Evil pretty much works the same way, I think, a slow erosion of morality. We reap what we sow? What kind of seeds are we planting? We can’t expect to plant corn and get beans.
    We’ve got all these ‘things’ that are supposed to make our life simpler, quicker, more enjoyable, make us more physically beautiful, and save us time. How’s it working for us? Is this one of the differences in the way the Amish live? I can tell you something that most probably won’t agree with me on, but my life has been happier since I got rid of the TV. An added benefit…no cable bills. I know there are some good programs on, and it helps the homebound pass the time. I don’t miss the commercials, though, that tell me I need A,B, & C to make me happy and fulfilled. My particular recurring depression is genetic. The best way I’ve found to deal with it is to give it to God, and try to be aware of my ‘triggers’ to help manage symptoms. You all have been a great help, too.
    SFDBWV, I wonder if you know what an encourager you are. May God bless this day for you!

  6. chfranke says:

    Just wanted to report that I’m back chugging on all cylinders again. It was Monday that I posted about being in a funk and I have not been back til today and read the responses and the posts this week regarding being down. As I mentioned in my original post the words were bouncing off my head so I stopped trying to read posts alltogeter. I didn’t want to risk reading anything that told me what I ought to do.
    Now my head and heart are clear again and I really appreciate the prayers that were lifted up for me. And there was very little “preaching” after all, which is good. Thank you all who prayed for me.
    What surprised me most was the encouragment I got reading posts from people going through the same or worse things I was going through. It’s not that I enjoy hearing about people go through worse times than me. I don’t. What I’m encouraged about is I know they have taken a BIG step toward renewal by writing down their honest feelings and sharing them here.
    Even as I’m writing here I’m learning that it’s not what you say in response to posts like those, but that you say something that acknowleges the people making the posts have been heard. Simply “I hear you brother/sister” will mean tons to that person.
    Your responses to them have been awesome.
    I can’t pin point why my funk started or why it stopped. What I do know is that writing down what I was really feeling and being open and honest with you all and posting it here for my annonymous family to read was a big (I mean BIG) first step. Slowly, things started coming around as I tried to live life normally; plugging away. I assume your prayers made the difference; I knew in the core of who I am that friends were praying for me and wanting me to become whole again. What a comfort that is.
    And I wanted to let you know that.

  7. chfranke says:

    I am so happy to know that you’ve identified the “triggers” that start the downward spiral so you, with God’s help, can counteract them at the start.

  8. sjd says:

    I have appreciated the emphasis the last few days on depression. It is so important that we as the Church understand the reality of it, and how many people it touches. The unfortunate thing is that many do not understand the healing that can begin in a community of believers. Sure, there are many times for medication and other therapies, yet we so often look at giving it over to a professional. We have the greatest Counselor within us as the Spirit of the Living God. I continue to pursue how Christ in me can live and speak to those around that are so hurting. Availability to what Jesus wants to do and who He wants us to be with is so important. We sell Him short if we remove ourselves from opportunities to touch other’s lives, and lose opportunities for Him to receive the glory.

    Looking at one another with God’s eyes are so important. Looking at the reality of who they are in Christ, rather than all the ways they present themselves is so vital. Helping one another see and experience that reality takes time and energy. It truly is a journey together that needs to be done under the Spirit’s power. Unfortunately many pull back from getting involved thinking it is too difficult and too demanding. I am reminded by the Word of God. “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”Genesis18:14, and then in Jeremiah 32:17 ‘Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You. I pray that I will be more faithful to see what God can do through me. The body of Christ is just that, a body of intimate parts that are joined together. In a healthy body, parts are not ignored. I care for my hands and feet and eyes and…. Need to check out the body around here today!

  9. sjd says:

    Good point on listening. I have been learning that a lot recently, trying not to readily give advice, or even affirmation in something, but to listen. Am thankful you are back “chugging on all cylinders”.

  10. mtman says:

    I guess I should not be so amazed at what happens on this blog but I am. Steve thank you for sharing some of your life. Your posts are truly a blessing. Same with Bruce C, and Laurielee and Brad. Great from the heart posts that touch us all. Robert Slone your post on having to take pain medication touches my heart too. chfranke it is good that you are doing better.
    This blog has become a true community of believers that has eminated from total strangers. It is encouraging to see people who have followed this blog and are now just contributing for the first time.
    The Amish live a simple but hard life by todays standard. We had lived in an Amish area in Pennsylvania before we moved to the mountains 12 years ago. What we learned from them is that sometimes the simple life actually is better. It is no wonder that they suffer less from some depressions than the rest of us. They are a tight community. We gave up our TV for a while too and then after several years we obtained another one. It does amplify the bad in the world with cable news but we choose not to watch the news and only those shows that entertain in a wholesome way. That certainly doesn’t make the bad go away but it is not in front of us all the time being played over and over.
    We are living a much simpler life without the complications imposed upon us by the world and I can truthfully say that we feel much closer to God. Just taking the time to be alone on occasion – if only for a mintute or two helps.
    I remember when we went through a similar economic difficulty back in the early 70’s that people were laid off and the pain it caused. The long hours of picking up the work they were no longer there to do. It passed and this will too but all those effected need our support and prayers in the meantime. I am a firm believer that prayer works. It is the first thing I do when I get up in the morning. I have only missed a handful of days in 35 years. I have seen it change lives. I kept a prayer log and when I look back I can see it was effective even when I couldn’t tell so at that time. The Lord works and blesses in his own time. Thank you all for your postings… God bless you all…..

  11. violet D says:

    I’ve read with interest the posts of the last few days – and couldn’t help but notice that this morning’s ODB devotion (written by Mart!) spoke to this issue! As I read what the ‘early’ believers endured I know – for myself – I never have suffered to that extent! or ever will.
    Through the personal tragedys in my life I’ve found that some of the ‘old’ hymns have been the most comforting and helped me through – Their tunes and words stayed in my head better than Scripture during those Black Times. (At 77 I like the old hymns – but am also learning to love some of the new compositions :) )
    In the part of the country where I live we have a weather phenomenon known as a Chinook. These warm winds bring nice relief in the depth of winter but the sudden change also affects some people due to the change in pressure (I confess I don’t understand how this works) but it is very real and can sometimes cause drastic changes in some persons’ behavior and wellbeing.
    Personally I have mostly a positive attitude but sometimes just feel ‘blah’ and don’t realize how depressed I’ve been until I feel ‘better’ again. One of my daughters-in-law DOES have clinical depression and has been on medication for years – I find it quite a challenge to assure her of my love and concern at times. My heart aches for my son because having to live with this has been difficult for him.
    Reading all the previous posts – especially yesterday and today – my heart goes out to each and everyone of you. I send you each a hug and am praying for you. Violet

  12. SFDBWV says:

    As you all may understand I hesitate to speak for Glenna. She has said at different times she would like to speak here but speaks to me instead.

    She suffers from “fibromyalgia” and several other ailments. Her biggest obstical to overcome was found in the medical world….Finding someone that believed her pain and understood. The odessy of then finding treatment that actualy works is an ongoing and unfinished business.

    When she first came to us, she was full of hope that she could help Matthew with his own pain problems, as she is a licensed massage therapist among other alternative healing talents.

    She is and has also been suicidal….

    As she has had to sort out her own remedies that work and don’t work, for her. Her greatest frustration is that she wants to be able to do more and finds she can’t.

    Her coming here was of design from God. There is no doubts about that. This isn’t an easy place to be. Each of us need the strength of each other, in order to survive. Life lessons here are on going and force fed from God to grow us into who we are becoming.

    So by centering on the needs of each other, in spite of the pain in spite of the frustrations, she goes on knowing it is for another she lives and for another she suffers. Each day begins as the only day. As she and I look forward, to the Joy that God has promised, will come in the morning.

  13. Inez Jacklin says:

    My late husband was bipolar, which is a pendulum of emotions. In his case, it went from talking a lot, which was a distressing environment to being verbally abusive and threatening physical abuse. Although raised in a Christian family and being very active in church events in his youth, he firmly resisted any participation in church activities OR to discuss his spiritual life. When I would come home from church, he would take the program and sing the hymns listed. He knew them all. He refused medication and psychological help. I just watched a TV program that reported that women suffer health problems (heart) when in a bad marriage. I had several atrial fibrillation incidents in the last years. Defining a bad marriage is difficult because at times he was thoughtful and enjoyable, but I never knew when he was going to swing over to the other side of his personality. So mental disease in a partner can be a problem also.

  14. wretch-like-me says:

    Is it possible that the single most cause of depression is a loss of purpose… an overwhelming sense of the inability to overcome an obstacle… it challenges our reason for living…and becomes an ever widening ‘hole’ that swallows any chance of ‘Joy’?

    It would appear from the posts we’ve described our own version of the above description. Perhaps the Amish have a deeper sense of belonging and purpose because they are more closely tied to the ‘land’ and each other?

    I think the one word that describes my depression is ‘hopelessness’. Despite all I know and believe it creeps into my mind and attempts to rob me of the ‘Hope I have that is Christ’. It is easy to say “Come Quickly, Lord Jesus!” (admittedly thinking of death and deliverance…)

    However, in that moment I know that to do so would rob Christ of His purpose in my life to reach others for Him and cheat me out of the words “Well Done, my good and faithful Servant!” So, I continue on; enduring in the tempest of temptations that accompany this ‘muck’ of blackness and the weight of ten thousand demons pressing me down. I cling to my Rock!

    I am delivered by gospel music(four part harmonies… acapella), hymns, prayer, memories and lists of answered prayer and past rescues…friends such as you who cause me to laugh and see the ‘light’ that is breaking just beyond the darkness that is afterall only temporary.

    God Bless You, All.
    Keep those Huggs coming.

  15. poohpity says:

    That was beautiful Mark L!! Thank you!!

    The one thing that I have held tight to in this journey of life is that everything that I have gone through is an experience that someone else may suffer so I can empathize with them. Over and over in scripture it says that whatever we go through is that we may bring comfort to someone else like the comfort we have received. All things are common to human beings (man). That brings me comfort to just know that whatever I have or ever will suffer brings me closer to God and He can use it ALL to minister to someone else. Hey, that’s a lot of stuff, that is why I am so fluffy. :)

  16. cherielyn says:

    Just wanted to thank everyone for your prayers. My gallbladder surgery, on 2/25 and post-op doctor appointment went well. I am recovering nicely & feeling pretty good.

    Doctor said it was a good idea I didn’t postpone surgery. I had a gallstone the size of a jumbo green olive and many smaller ones. He said that I was “lucky” that it went this long without serious consequences. I had been having attacks for the past 5 1/2 to 6 years that were not recognized as gallbladder attacks. (Of course, luck had nothing to do with it.) God works everything out in His time and for His purpose!

    Sorry I’m off-topic, but wanted to express my heartfelt appreciation for the prayers, thoughts, care and concern of the WONDERFUL “FAMILY” we have here! Although we have not have met in person, I love you all, in Christ!

  17. poohpity says:

    Hey w-l-m,
    Depression is also heredity. There are a lot of things that cause it. Almost everything we eat has some kind of chemicals in them and I think the Amish grow and raise everything themselves. Just something to think about.

  18. poohpity says:

    Yea Cheryl! Welcome back!!

  19. cherielyn says:

    Wow, Mark L., what a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  20. cherielyn says:

    Thanks, Deborah. It’s great to feel good enough to be back to the blog.

  21. mtman says:

    Cheryl: Very happy to have you back. You have been on my morning prayers each day. I will keep you there if you don’t mind as now you have to pay for all that treatment. Great to have you back and mending properly.

  22. Robert Slone says:

    I just wanted to say Steve and Matt you are both an inspiration to me and are always in my prayers. Mark L, your post makes it all so realistic, thank you. It is an eye opener.

  23. Robert Slone says:

    The mountain tops are great and I praise God for them, but I also praise him for the valleys, because it is climbing out of the valleys that I learn and become closer to God, making me a better vessel for his use.
    It has taken all those highs and lows to get me where I am today, and there will be more in the future. Thanks be to God, that I found this blog and thank you to all that help myself and others that are here.

  24. Laurielee says:

    If it wasn’t for the valleys, would we even recognize or fully appreciate the mountaintops?
    Mark, what a wonderful story! It brought tears, but not bad ones. We just have to remember that when we give our burden to the Lord, we have to quit taking it back! Easier said than done!
    Cheryl, SO glad you’re getting better!
    How are YOU doing, pooh?
    mtman, I envy your environment…in a good way…I’m happy for you that you have it.

    Most of us seem to struggle financially, but sound so rich. Isn’t God awesome???

    Have a great weekend, everyone…and don’t forget to ‘spring forward’ on Sunday!

  25. mrsbrown says:

    Inez, I feel your pain of mental illness in a family member. It’s such a stigma even today, though I think we are coming out of the closet so to speak. My husband and I both have mental illness in our families and after we had our son we were advised by a gene specialist that we had,”Had 1 too many” Ouch! He suffers from ADHD/bipolar and dropped out of high school. My husband and I are both educators so this hurt us deeply. We worked hard at helping him achieve his GED and worked with what God had given him! He has in the past been verbally/physically abusive.I hate to admit this, but he even spit at me once, calling me horrific names. I had a Jesus moment right at that experience.It was truely the only thing that got me through! We had to get a court order against him! That really hurt. He won’t go on any meds. Presently, he is on his own and working 2 jobs. My husband and I are afraid of him and what happens when he gets upset. We keep the lines of communication always open, but walk on eggshells and pick our words carefully. We are thankful that he is back open to going to church and trust in a MIGHTY GOD that HE would show favor on us ‘and heal the years the locusts have eaten.’ Our little family of 3 believes in a BIG GOD.I’m sorry for your loss and what you had to endure while your husband was alive. Peace be all over YOU! I pray that God has restored to you the years the locusts have eaten.

  26. Gregor says:

    I’ve known depression for most of my life.I’ve been in
    and out of the hospital more times than I care to
    remember.One thing I can say for sure is the Lord will
    never leave me or forsake;no matter what any other
    christian may say or think! I just know it’s a rough
    road.My favorite verse is Prov.3:5&6

  27. Robert Slone says:

    When there are no more valleys to cross, we will be home in heaven. We do not belong in this world and as it gets more evil, we will be persicuted more. More and more, Christians do not fit in, in this world, but eyes on Jesus, he will walk us through.

  28. cherielyn says:

    I sure do appreciate the prayers, and yes, continue to uphold me in prayer for the upcoming bills. Our hospital has a program, for people who are un-insured, called Community Care. We have applied for it. The next meeting to review applications is on March 11th. If we are found eligible the bills could be reduced by as much as 50%, depending on our assets & income.

    I have not allowed myself to get depressed over this. I know that God is in control and knows my needs. It will all work out somehow.

  29. poohpity says:

    I had to go to the ER today because I pulled a muscle in my back on the left side it feels like someone punched me and broke my rib. So right now I am in a lot of pain. Laying on ice is really helping. Thank you for asking. You know if it isn’t one thing it is another. LOL :)

  30. daisymarygoldr says:

    Poohpity, special prayers for you…hope you get well soon!

    Unlike previous discussions, today’s conversation on the subject of depression is very much on the right track. I agree with all of the above comments above and extend my heartfelt prayers for each one of you and your dear ones…

    There maybe several causes for depression… but King David rightly identified the root cause of his depression: “I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness. Sin has drained my strength…” (Ps 31:10 NLT). Ps 32 is about how he resolved the issue of his depression; Ps 38 is his prayer to God during severe depression and Ps 42 reminds us that in all cases we should always hope in God.

    Just like every other disorder, meds may help treat chemical imbalances of the physical body; Psychology may help with the issues of the soul but it is God’s Counselor- the Holy Spirit alone who ultimately comforts and heals a wounded spirit.

  31. daisymarygoldr says:

    The information regarding low incidence of depression in the Amish community is interesting but not surprising to me. Just like you all here… I have family in Christ that live on the other side of the globe. Family who live in slums and in shacks… but do not doubt the timely provision of God, family who lose their loved ones to death but do not grieve without hope… as unbelievers do, family who are trying hard to survive without basic food, water and health care but are filled with the joy of the Lord. Family who are hard pressed on every side…with poverty, persecution and pestilence…you name it…yet they are not destroyed or broken!

    With that mindset when I consider the depression epidemic that is plaguing this society it simply leaves me wondering… What is your lack? Where did God fail to bless you…both materialistically and spiritually? Are you not the land flowing with milk and honey…the richest, the mightiest and the most developed nation in the world? There are churches dotting every mile along the length and breadth of this country. You boast of the best Bible Schools and seminaries in the world, the atmosphere here is virtually saturated with the Gospel being broadcasted day and night; you have the best Pastors and teachers to feed and teach you. You even make your third world neighbors to envy the wealth of Bible resources laid out at your disposal.

    How then did this spiritual impoverishment come about? How does one account for depression that is due to divorce, drugs, child neglect, porn, adultery & every other deed of the flesh that is equally rampant both outside in the world and inside within the church? 93% of professing Christians have no desire to hear the truth…no one wants the church to “preach”. What is the problem to this spiritual apathy and passiveness? Where did it go wrong? Who is to blame- Christians, the church? Is God the one to blame?

    Please, do not get me in the wrong…am I sounding bitter? Sorry, I can’t help it…this is something which is beyond me. I really don’t know how to express the anguish of my soul with love and grace. If I try to hold it back in order to fit in and please you… “His word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!” (Jeremiah 20: 9)

  32. drkennyg says:

    What a wonderful piece that is “The Burden”. Thanks Mark L. I know that we all have our burdens some seem small others large. It is very comforting to know that we can “look to the prize” and wait patiently for Christ in the end. It’s OK to be in the world but not of the world. God is good all the time even if or should I say especially if we don’t understand His glorious ways. I am so glad I have been found by Christ because I was once so very very lost.

  33. Mart De Haan says:

    Many of us are familiar with the following quote. But let’s all look at it again:

    [Hearing words that alarmed and upset him, the friend said to the suffering brother] “Will you be patient and let me say a word? For who could keep from speaking out? “In the past you have encouraged many a troubled soul to trust in God; you have supported those who were weak. Your words have strengthened the fallen; you steadied those who wavered. But now when trouble strikes, you faint and are broken. Does your reverence for God give you no confidence? Shouldn’t you believe that God will care for those who are upright? “Stop and think! Does the innocent person perish? When has the upright person been destroyed? My experience shows that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same. They perish by a breath from God. They vanish in a blast of his anger” (Job 4)

    In retrospect, we know what was happening, why the brother was suffering, and why comments like this would ultimately be corrected by God.

    The friend was right. All of our suffering is due in one way or another to our own sin or to the sin of someone else. But he was wrong in the way he applied it to his brother.

    We know now what these friends did not and could not know or understand at the time. The brother (Job) was not right in his complaint against God (i.e. Chapter 3 and throughout the emotional conversation that is preserved in poetic form). Job would eventually learn that he was misreading God as being unjust. But the friend (Eliphaz) was also not correct in assuming and implying that Job was suffering in proportion to Job’s own sin.

    Job’s suffering was surrounded by the intermingling of truth and mystery to help us see (I’m convinced) why the Apostle Paul would later write, “Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. (1Thess 5:14).

  34. Helmet says:

    Oh pooh! please take care, hope you don’t have any pain.

    I heard once in a Bible study that depression is proud, it sounds hard, specially if you are in depression. But, the point is that, things don’t go as you want, or you think you deserve. Anyway, if that king, whose name I don’t remember now, went to doctors before God obout his feet illness, why don’t we must do the same?

    Just think, what do you need to let water enter in a glass? You just need to get out the air! and it’s simple, poor the water, air goes out. The same, read God’s word, sometimes you don’t want to do nothing, but try, or just meditate on verses you already memorized, when you spend time with God, you are pleasing Him, so His joy will go over you. Is because we focus on our problem or our sadness, that we feel like sunk, I was like that, but one day I said “I’ll stop thinking about what makes me mad or sad, I’ll work on my relationship with God, because He’s the only one that is faithful, He loves me no matter what, He cares…” So, when I started to remember about John chapter 3, that I memorized once, I felt Him near, not only for what chapter says, it’s also because when you are thinking in His Word, He is there by you.
    He gave all for you, he understand how you feel.

  35. Helmet says:

    oups! I meant, not do the same, please, go with God before the doctor.

  36. Helmet says:

    Confused, are you there? tell me how are you please.

  37. Ted M. Gossard says:

    Mart, I really appreciate your posts, and these posts on depression. Along with what comments I’ve had or taken time to read.

    I like Ortberg’s HELP here. I too have struggled with depression through most all of my life. In some ways being a Christian only intensified it, though that was due at least in part in my case to an insufficient knowledge and experience of the Faith.

    I still have to grapple with it at times, and sometimes post of it on my blog. It does help one have more empathy for others. And there are no quick, easy answers. The best one might say is that there is a walk of faith in God through Christ by the Spirit that must be learned more and more, and in companionship with others.

  38. SFDBWV says:

    One of the reasons I have very little respect for psychology as a science, is that it attempts to place everyone into lists. Making each individual fit into their idea of a pattern or Box.

    Each individual is special and unique. Psalms 139:13 For thou hast possed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mothers womb.
    :14 I will praise thee; for O am fearfully and wounderfully made: and that my soul knoweth right well.
    :15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
    :16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuence were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

    While I can agree with my friend Daisy that many people caught up in the “epidemic of depression” are as a result of placing their trust on things other than God. I also recognize that there are sometimes situations and causes that are of a medical condition. The problem with the medical world’s treatments are that they eliminate the real healer from the treatment.

    Doctors rarely use a patients faith as part of the cure. Believing that through a series of trial and error the right cocktail of medication will balance out the persons emotions. If the patient doesn’t die from the treatment, their faith is misdirected into hopeing that the medical world will find a cure for their unhappiness.

    There are herbs and medicines that can help a person, but the only cure is to include Jesus Christ in the prescription.

    A depressed person also needs real honest friends. Who will be there to listen and not condem.

    Warmer weather today but still no robins….

  39. SFDBWV says:

    Frank, re reading your comments I, as always, am impressed with your command of language.

    Some time ago I bought a pack of praise music. It was a little expensive for me but I was compelled to buy it. Yet when it arrived I didn’t even open it up or take it out of the box….Not long afterward my sister-in-law called me and ask me to pray for her. She said many demons were pressing on her. Old habits old yearnings. Alone there in her house all day she thought she may do something stupid.

    I calmed her with words of comfort and love and told her I had a gift for her. That while there alone in the house when these moments of darkness crept in, to play praise music. That where praise is the devil flees. So I sent her the cd’s and for a season they have helped her and others in her life.

    Yes praise and worship can send the devil away. Music that touches the soul and praise for our Lord when combined is a powerful medicine.

    I have always felt a conection to King Saul. I pitty him for I too know what it is to have a tormenting spirit….But in King Sauls case the only comfort he could gain was for David to play the harp and recite what we now know as the psalms….Poor King Saul, his answer to being relieved of his torment was to truely repent of his sin and need for God. Rather than lament over his failures.

  40. mtman says:

    Cheryl: I have put March ll on my prayer list next to your name and will pray that you will be accepted for the hospital program. I hope others will pray for you on that day too and daily for continue healing.
    Daisymarygoldr: That post you made above is exactly why I personally missed your presence those few days you were not posting. God is using you in a mighty way because you have a way of speaking from the depths of you soul in such a way some of us can’t express. Thank you so much. Stay active.
    SFDBWV: You have good observations. I see this blog as a place that attracts just those kind of friends that are honest, Christ based and loving. What a wonderful place to have access for those who are hurting in one way or another. I see a real Christian family formed here. A place to visit not to be judged but to be loved and upheld.
    I remember when Christians used to call the radio the Devils work place. Then the same with TV and then the internet and computer. I have heard sermons preached to avoid such places. This blog is good for me because it proves how loving people can come together at a specific place to support and love each other in a way that would not be possible anywhere else. These are only the Devil’s work place if we allow it to be that way. What a blessing this site is!!! My son is in prison because he used this media for evil instead of the good it possesses. I am so thankful for this opportunity and for having this site and to be included with you all.
    Pooh: I have added you on my prayer list for healing. You were already on my list but now you are in two places on the list for different reasons. I pray your pain will be gone soon and you will have healing.

  41. daisymarygoldr says:

    Correction: Instead of “Unlike previous discussions…” I meant to say: “Unlike previous discussions on the subject of depression, today’s conversation is very much on the right track.”

    Steve, kudos to you, for charting the course of this discussion in the right direction…thank you for allowing God’s Spirit to work in and through you! I can also feel your warm weather and sense your disappointment with no robins:)

    Mart, you are the teacher and I am the student… and am still learning. Thank you for reminding me to be tender and patient! Your words in “As is… Just I am…” did hurt me…but God enabled me to overcome my personal hurt to come back and converse with such great folks like you. You are a benevolent host and God will reward you with the biggest crown ever…for accommodating an undesirable nuisance like me:)

    mtman, without your spiritual eyes… the body of Christ would be blind. Thank you for the assurance! …you are greatly loved and appreciated:)

  42. rokdude5 says:

    Though none of us wants a suffering life, God in His infinite wisdom WILL place obstacles in our lives to shape us to be more like Him.

    Rom 5:3-5 (BTW, this is today’s scriptures in the Daily Bread)
    …but we[c] also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

    Christ endured the ultimate sufferings for us. Though as daunting our daily lives may be, may we continue extending God’s love to one another as a testiment of who God is. Praise God!

  43. Laurielee says:

    I am so sorry, pooh! I pray that you are free from the pain soon.

    mtman, how coincidental(?)! When I awoke this morning, I was thinking about how almost every thing there is can be used for good or evil. Media, technology, finances, emotions, our positions…everything. If I have given myself over to Christ, that means heart, soul, mind, and strength, or body. That would mean that these hands of mine belong to God. What do I do with God’s hands? Do I use them for building up, or tearing down? Do I use them towards others with gentleness and caring? Or do I inflict pain? What about my eyes? My feet?

    I admit to feeling like an outsider in some ways. I hear and read of most people who get angry at God for things that happen, and what they have to go through…I even read of it in the Bible. Many times I don’t care for what I’m going through, but I don’t get mad at God. Is something wrong with me? Jesus said that in this world we will have trouble, but to take heart, because He has overcome the world. I understand trouble to be part of the human condition. No one gets a pass on pain and suffering. I don’t believe God causes pain and suffering. My son’s fiancee’s 6-year old niece died last Saturday from a brain tumor. It wasn’t God’s fault. He knew the day and minute she would come to be with Him from before she was born. The sorrow I feel is for those who mourn her loss from their lives. I’m 100% positive she is now healthy and happy. Is it unfair that she should live only 6 years when there are those that live to be over 100? Of course. That is this life…unfair, broken, and sinful. There is also joy, love, comfort, and beauty in this life. THAT comes from God. I truly believe that Jesus did not use the word ‘overcome’ by a random choice. We are to be overcomers, but we can’t do it on our own, and we can’t do it without belief in the sacrifice He made for us. Does anyone know the song from Audio Adrenaline called “Underdog”? There’s a part that goes, “A winner is not judged by his small size, but by the Substitute he picks to run the race…and Mine’s already won”!

  44. Mart De Haan says:

    daisymarygoldr, I’m learning like everyone else here the value of our many perspectives/– for somewhere in the center there is wisdom and safety :-)…

  45. sitsathisfeet says:

    Laurielee so sorry to hear about your son’s fiancee’s neice passing away at only 6 years old. One thing that helped me when my first husband passed away when my older three were little was that I too realized that “nature” isn’t perfect, we all live under fallen earth, fallen race, and that all nature groans for perfection under Christ Jesus. Yet, our God knew when my husband and the children’s father would pass away, though no one else on this earth did. I’ll pray for comfort, healing and someone with skin on to help them as well, and that God help and sustain the whole family. How difficult for her parents, I can only imagine… Did you read Kailkoa8 testimony about her neice? Also Michael W. Smith the christian singer lost his daughter last year due to an accident, and was on the Billy Graqham show talking about it. Praise God He blesses us with faith in times like these. How deep the Father’s love for us….

  46. sitsathisfeet says:

    Sorry Correction Kaliko88 under feeling down… so sad for your loss of your neice coming up on the anniversary of as well. May God comfort you and sustain you and though the memories be bittersweet, may He hold you in the palm of His hand, until again you meet! With Christ’s Love, Janice

  47. Robert Slone says:

    I have read in the blog doctor vs. prayer, and prescriptions vs organic herbs. I have struggled with this before, with having back problems, high colestrol, and plugging in my arteries, causing stroke. I came to the conclusion that God uses people along with the fact that all healing comes from God. Everything God has done, he could have done by himself, but he chooses to use people in doing his will. All through the Bible he uses people to do his work. Sometimes whith depression, or what ever the problem, God has used people to make drugs to help. The organic way is good for mild casses, but drugs are a higher concentration that may be required to give the relief. I believe in prayer and going to God first, but I also pray for my doctor when he is needed to help and my doctor knows this.

  48. mtman says:

    Laurielee: Yes it is strange because when I was laying in bed this morning not wanting to take the dogs out with the wind and snow I was thinking the same thing. That is why I interjected it into my posting. I just don’t think that was coincidence in any way, shape of form. I feel so sorry for the parents of the 6 year old girl. My wife and myself feel that our ministry is to children and dogs. Often the most neglected members of society and our lives. We do what we can for both and sometimes are overwhelmed over what happens to them. Losing a child is so very hard and I don’t think having her presence in their lives for 6 years is much comfort to them right now. Words simply do not apply. LaurieLee from where I sit and what I read that you post there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. You are not an outsider in any way either. We all have feelings of doubts at times, wonder where God is in all the pain and misery we see around us. I can’t imagine the pain those parents are experiencing right now but I know the Lord is right there with them. You are one of a kind and that is something to rejoice in.
    Rokdude5: I read that this morning too – actually twice because I thought how appropriate it was. Thank you for posting it. Do you think it would be okay to ask God for just a little less character right now?

  49. sjd says:

    If I am reading what you said right, I agree with you. There are times that I almost feel guilty for not grieving more, or getting mad. When I see other people sorrowing over a loss of a loved one in a very significant way, I have wondered am I somehow cold or calloused, when I do not respond alike. As both of my parents are with the Lord now and my brother died at a fairly young age, I have missed them, but have not had an extended time of grieving. I am so thankful for them and the time I was able to enjoy them. As you said in another way, in this world we must expect the difficult things that are happening, with illness, death, abuse and so much more, all a result of sin. As I grow older I am realizing more and more the Sovereignty of God. I also see how different we are all “wired”, and how differently we respond to life. I am feeling less guilty over how I have not grieved so much and also am attempting to be more available to have God show His compassion through me to those who suffer longer.
    Romans 12:15 (NASB95)
    “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”

    What a privilege it is to be part of the family of God. It is wonderful to see brothers and sisters reaching out to one another despite differences in circumstances and personalities. We are one in Christ.

  50. Laurielee says:

    Robert, I agree that many times it is God who has given the ability through doctors or medications to help to heal or relieve pain. There are, as with everything else, good and bad doctors.

    pooh, I was just talking with my daughter (year 3 in med school) about your hip surgeries…she said that you must be amazingly strong to have gone through what you have!

    rokdude, AMEN!

    sitsathisfeet, you are wise, as usual.

    sjd, you seem a teacher to me. Yes, my ‘baby’ sister passed away 3 years ago this August 5th from breast cancer. She was 38 and had 6 children. My grieving was so much different from my family. She changed so much in the couple of years before she died (alone & in prison). She was befriended by a nun, and her whole personality changed. She became a firm believer. I know where she is. She has smiled at me in my dreams. True, I miss her, but it’s only for a little while. It’s unfortunate that, as with several in my family, they think that her death gives them an ‘excuse’ to downward spiral. They think that the way I’ve handled it is a bit odd. I’m trying to gently get the idea across that in order to respect someone’s memory, we should strive to be better people…which I believe is only going to work through Christ. What am I really, but a breath, a blade of grass, a sparrow in the wind? It is only Christ in me that gives me significance.

  51. plumbape says:

    This whole topic is depressing!!!!! Okay….not funny.

    One may want to check out a web site called “Think Right Now” I believe the products work because it deals the the core of the problems. I’ve been on flu recovery but still reading and Thinking About you all…:>)

    The Ape In Indy

  52. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    I posted that I had lost a daughter and there was very deep hurt. I don’t think I am depressed or using her for a spiral down… was only saying I mourned. I don’t dwell on her death and have always understood that God took her at His appointed time. At the same time I don’t feel guilty because I mourned losing her nor do I ever plan to forget that she existed. I think my feelings are hurt. I am not even sure why. I did read about Jacob again today for clarification on his feelings about the loss of Joseph seems he couldn’t forget either. I think it’s called love.

    I know my heart attitude is in need of adjustment and I need to be praying instead of posting but I really need to say this and hope you will understand.

  53. sjd says:

    I am sorry that your feelings were hurt. Love will keep you from forgetting, and I would be concerned if you did not mourn. My concern was that sometimes I felt like I did not mourn enough while at the same time some seem to mourn longer than needed. We are all different.
    One thing we can do in common is to seek God out. I like what I read in Psalm 73 today. It was Asaph’s response to difficult times in his life where he was troubled by the circumstances around him.

    Psalm 73:16-17 (NASB95)
    16 When I pondered to understand this, It was troublesome in my sight
    17 Until I came into the sanctuary of God; Then I perceived their end.

    It was in coming before God, that understanding came and “healing” could begin. We find in His presence the comfort of His Sovereignty, and the realization of His loving hand.

    And then he said Psalm 73:25-26 (NASB95)
    25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
    26 My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

    I will be praying for you that you will continue to have fond memories of your daughter and that God will be the strength of your heart and your portion forever.

  54. Laurielee says:

    gr8granny, I sure hope than nothing I said hurt your feelings! I should clarify that of course I grieved when my sister passed…it was very traumatic, but different, because we grieve as those who have hope. No matter what the circumstance, we always have hope. This is from my last night’s reading, it came to mind just now thinking of you…”May the Lord bless you and protect you, May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you, May the Lord show you favor and give you His peace.” (Num 6:24-26)

  55. daisymarygoldr says:

    gr8grannyjacobs, I’m sorry for the loss of your daughter. My comment was not in any way meant for you. I was talking about different factors that trigger depression…it was just a general statement. I am a mother and I can understand your pain. You are so right…love can never erase the memories of our children who precede us in death. No, it is not silly to find comfort in the fact that your daughter was 33 and Christ died at 33. The Bible does not tell us not to grieve. We do grieve but we grieve with hope. Just the way King David grieved for His son. “I can go to him, but he can’t come to me”. The hope of seeing his son again… helped eased his pain and he was also able to comfort his wife. As long as sin exists in this world, pain and grief will also exist…no one is exempted from it. One can never be pain-free… but the only privilege we have in Christ is the hope and comfort of our loving God which helps us endure the pain. gr8grannyjacobs, you are the true embodiment of love on this blog and it really hurts to see you hurt…it was good that you posted to express your feelings. Please forgive me. Praying for God to comfort and heal your hurting heart…

    Michael, Sorry to hear about your bout with flu:o( Praying that God will restore you to good health once again!

  56. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    daisy Thank you. It wasn’t anything you said. I think I am just overwhelmed by the sadness in the posts the last couple of days. It seems one is condemned for hurting sometimes as if loving and trusting God is somehow a free pass that enables us to escape the pain that is a part of life. I trust God that in His love He understands we still have moments of sorrow. I want to help folks through their pain not add more pain.just as God helps me through mine. I Love You gr8granny

  57. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    I should add it wasn’t anything anyone said. I Love All Of You.

    sjd and laurielee Thank you for caring.

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