Finding Light in Dark Places (Let's talk about the big "D" word)
“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” Psalm 139:11-12 (ESV)
Depression - now there’s a word to start our Wednesday together! It’s a topic many Christians woUsually when I seek the Lord, my depression doesn’t necessarily lift, but it will shift. In the light of His presence, shame runs away. I’m beginning to understand the depth of God’s love for me. Not because I have something to offer, but because He is that generous. I am learning that I can bring my whole messy self before God. And when I invite Him in, He simply steps over all that clutter to sweep me up into His arms of grace.uld like to avoid; it’s controversial and often carries a great deal of shame and guilt for those (me included) who’ve found themselves wrapped in it’s cold, dark grip. My own struggles with depression started in my teen years; after being one of the “cool kids” in junior high I suddenly became (in my mind anyway) an invisible nobody during my freshman year of high school - I drifted from one group of friends to the next, unsure of who I was or where I fit in. During the darker moments suicide seemed like the logical answer to my pain (praise God it wasn’t!!!).
So how do we deal with depression? I can say without a doubt that pat answers like “read your Bible and pray more” are oversimplified solutions that ignore the reality of our fallen condition and create a kind of works salvation - push the right buttons and God will do what you want! However, it is in Jesus and his Word that we find our hope, strength, and courage to press on in the midst of the darkness.
Melissa Maimone from Proverbs 31 Ministries shares about her journey through depression in her devotional “Finding Light in Dark Places.” Her initial reaction to depression is likely familiar to many of us - guilt and shame. She felt she couldn’t approach God for help until her life was in order and the mess was cleaned up. (How many of us have fallen for that lie and found ourselves cut off from the very help we need?!?)
Over the years Melissa has learned that step one in dealing with depression was inviting God into her mess. Of that process she shares with honesty and candor this:
Usually when I seek the Lord, my depression doesn’t necessarily lift, but it will shift. In the light of His presence, shame runs away. I’m beginning to understand the depth of God’s love for me. Not because I have something to offer, but because He is that generous. I am learning that I can bring my whole messy self before God. And when I invite Him in, He simply steps over all that clutter to sweep me up into His arms of grace.
Does God always take the problem away? No - but he does enter into the messy, dark places with us, and that’s exactly what we so desperately need. Psalm 139:11b - 12a says this, “Even the darkness is not dark to [Him]; the night is bright as the day.”
Much like my own journey through chronic pain, Melissa has found a place of peace and contentment in the midst of her depression an anxiety, stating:
Depression and anxiety are still a difficult part of my life, but they no longer intimidate me. I’ve learned to find contentment in the darkness as well as the light, because Jesus is with me in both.
Kind of sounds like Paul in Philippians 4! If you’re dealing with depression - or some other darkness or pain that’s followed you most of you life - you’re not alone. Take Melissa’s words to heart:
Jesus sees every step of the journey you’re on, even when you cannot. Trust Him to guide your steps. And because He knows this painful place as surely as He knows the light, He’s the one who will take your hand and lead you into the sunlight once more.