In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.
During the next few weeks, we will discuss some of our greatest problems and God’s answers. This week we will focus on a problem that if you haven’t dealt with yet, you are going to deal with it at some point in your life. And if you don’t deal with it, it can result in the loss of your job, the loss of your family, or even the loss of your life. We are talking about the problem of depression.
Several years ago I had lunch with one of the foremost Christian psychiatrists in our nation. I asked him what is the number one problem for which people come to him for consulting. He said at the top of the list is depression. In fact, more people suffer from depression than all the other psychological disorders combined. By one estimate, more than 350 million people are suffering from depression today. More females are affected by depression than males. More than 800,000 people commit suicide every year, most of whom were suffering from depression.
By the way, depression is nothing new. Some of the greatest figures in history suffered from depression. Abraham Lincoln went through prolonged periods of depression to the point sometimes that he could hardly function. Winston Churchill, certainly one of last century’s greatest leaders, fought intense emotional battles that he famously called the “black dog” of depression. And depression occurs even among Christian leaders. Charles Spurgeon, C. S. Lewis, and Martin Luther all suffered from severe depression. Even the Bible is filled with great men of the faith who suffered from depression. Remember Job? He had all the classic signs of depression. Or think about David. In Psalm 31:9 he said, “My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also.”
Living in this fallen world makes depression a natural emotion. That’s why the apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:6, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials.” Just going through the normal trials of life is enough to make you depressed. Jesus said in John 16:33, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” You are not going to be able to avoid the natural difficulties that occur in this life and the corresponding depression that occurs. But I do believe the Bible gives us some very practical ways to manage this difficult emotion that we call depression. That is what we’re going to talk about this week: how to use God’s Word to deal with the depression that will come into your life at one point or another.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Dealing with Depression” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.