Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Ps. 43:5
Heavenly Father, today my heart goes out, and my prayers reach up, on behalf of those who struggle with depression, in one of its many forms. I have friends who live all along the axis from mild melancholy to the relentless pangs of suicidal depression. And my family tree has roots in clinical depression---with many loved ones who've struggled with emotional fracture and darkness as a way of life. Father of mercies, grant all of us greater compassion and wisdom for loving those whose mental health is under siege.
Thank you for rescuing me from simplistic views of depression. It's not as simple a condition as I used to think. I grieve the ways I used to counsel the depressed, and it saddens me to realize how much pressure I put on them get better and "get over it." Happiness is not always simply a choice.
David asked the right question in a season of duress: "Why, my soul, are you downcast?" (Ps. 43:5). Indeed, Father, what are the various reasons for a downcast, disturbed soul, and what does hoping in you look like for each?
Father, for friends who are depressed for no other reason than living with a graceless, gospel-less heart; keep them miserable until they rest in the finished work of your Son, Jesus. May they despair of their own unrighteousness and their "wannabe" righteousness, until they are driven to the righteousness that only comes from faith in Jesus. Sometimes misery is a great mercy.
Father, for friends who suffer from depression generated by chemical complexities, lead them to the right kind of medical care. And help us in the community of faith to be patient and understanding of the complexities involved in their care. The risk of abusing medications is always there, so give us wisdom.
Father, for friends who suffer from depression fueled by the demonic, grant me humility and wisdom. A part of me doesn't even want to acknowledge that this is an issue at all, but how can I read your Word and dismiss the demonic so lightly? His condemning, blaming, and shaming voice, alone is enough to generate the deepest forms of darkness and a disconnected self. Yet his schemes are multiple (2 Cor. 2:11). Show us, in the Body of Christ, how are we to care for those under the spell and sway of our cross-defeated, fury-filled foe (Rev. 12:12).
Father, for those of us whose downcast-ness is little more than the fruit of blocked goals, idol failures, self-pity or the consequence of our own disobedience, smite us, yet again with the gospel. May we cry, "Uncle!", that we might cry, "Abba!"
By your great and sufficient grace, I make King David's affirmation mine. I do and I will yet praise you, my Savior and my God. My hope is in you, Father---for me and for all of my brokenhearted downcast friends. The gospel will win the day. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus' compassionate and victorious name.