Depression has been much on my mind lately. There are people in my little sphere who are being consumed by it, and my heart grieves for them because I know.
I know what it is like to feel hopeless, to look at all the information and conclude that you are a mere waste, to feel that the light of day is dim and dreary and all you long to do is slip into unconsciousness, maybe forever — but even sleep is elusive and there’s a part of you that knows duty must come first. You are at war, and your foulest enemy is the one with hollow, weary eyes who peers at you from the mirror.
I have been there before, years ago when I was a young woman struggling with a poor self-image and feeling desolate inside. Even more recently, I have been there when physical pain was a ruthless companion and I began to feel like more of a burden than a blessing to my family.
However, my friend, there is more to this story than the dank rottenness of despair. There is hope and even wonder and magnificence to come, but first there is something you must do.
Poor, lost soul, you must yield to the Good Shepherd who searches for you even now as you read these words. He longs to find you, to bring you back into His sheepfold and rejoice with all who are glad at the finding of another lost soul.
Then, having yielded to Him, you will find that your troubles do not vanish.
Did you think they would? This is no fairy tale, my friend — it is something far more rare; far more precious and wonderful. It is a true story of redemption and hope beyond the grave.
No, once you belong to the Great Shepherd, your troubles will remain and truth be told, more will come. Yet, you no longer fight alone. Trembling little sheep, you are now under the protection of the Shepherd, and He will fight your battles for you. You have only to trust Him.
Then, when you are fully surrendered to Him, you will find that he makes you find rest in green pastures. Ah, and then! There it is, when He has called you into the wilderness., He will speak to you with tender mercy. There, in the growing green, out away from your dismal dungeon of twisted pride, He will lead you to still waters where He will restore your soul.
And such a restoration! This Shepherd who loves you will invite you to drink deep of the Water of Life. No matter how you have failed Him; no matter what weight of guilt crushes you or what horrors you have done or have been done to you; in fact, no matter how much you have failed to believe Him and even if you have openly mocked Him, He will restore you in total forgiveness that knows no bounds.
Now, precious child of the King, He will lead you on paths of righteousness that travel far from the gloom of the tiny confines of your own mental prison. For His own name’s sake, He does this, for He has set you free from the bonds of sin and death. You live for Him now, and your once meaningless life has a glorious purpose.
Now when you once again walk through the valley of deep darkness and death stalks behind, you have no reason to fear. Even the rod of discipline and the staff of guidance are a comfort to you, because you know that He disciplines those He loves.
You are safe in His love,little sheep who is no longer lost. Though the darkness may close in and despair scratch at your windows, He is there with you. No, your problems do not disappear when you are a child of God, but there is hope despite them, even because of them.
Now your suffering has meaning, for it is in the furnace of affliction that your faith is tried, tested, and purified. The darkness has no hold on you, for you are a child of the Light. You belong to the Good Shepherd and you are no longer alone.
You have walked through that dark valley and died to yourself. No longer do woes consume you, for your mind is no longer fixed on yourself but on your gracious and loving Redeemer. When your old mental habits loom and you are weary and too weak to stand, run to the Great Shepherd and find peace in the still waters of His never-ending grace and love.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father … that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith–that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:14, 16-19