Special Note from Eric: Need a boost in your faith? Join us NEXT WEEKEND, LIVE ONLINE OR IN-PERSON, for a men’s retreat where I’ll be speaking on “Facing Your Fears,” and my friends Jefferson Williams and Kent Sanders will be speaking on “Breaking Addictions” and “5 Lies I Believed About Depression.” We’ll also have inspirational times of worship with my friend, Travis Johnson.
You can also watch a live, Sunday morning church service TODAY at 9 and 11 a.m. Central Time (or on-demand anytime thereafter) at this link: http://live.eastview.church.
by Kevin Burden
Loneliness has been called the most desolate word in the English language. It is no respecter of age, race, economic status, or intelligence. Albert Einstein once said, “It is strange to be known so universally, and yet to be so lonely.”
God made us for intimacy and companionship with others. Even before sin entered the world, He declared that “it is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). That’s why many people often feel so empty inside.
Jesus experienced loneliness. He felt it when His disciples deserted Him (Mark 14:50). The Father’s presence more than compensated for this, however. He said, “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me” (John 16:32).
Intimacy with God is available to all who put their trust in Christ – John 14:16-23.
We can reduce our feelings of loneliness by reaching out to others. But even more important, we must reach out to the Lord. He is always with us, and He wants us to fellowship with Him throughout the day.
A recent Gallop poll concludes 4 out of 10 Americans admit to frequent feelings of intense loneliness and depression. Has loneliness ever crept into your life? What does the Bible say to those who are going through those dark times?
Difficult times came to many in the Bible. Just two examples…
Elijah needed rest after his encounter with the Prophets of Baal.
Paul in his letter to Timothy said, “Everyone has deserted me” three different times. His way of coping was to ask for his parchments and his friends.
Charles Spurgeon was prone to times of deep sadness and depression. On an unforgettable Sunday morning in 1866, the great C. H. Spurgeon stunned his five thousand listeners when from the pulpit of London’s Metropolitan Tabernacle he announced, “I am the subject of depressions of spirit so fearful that I hope none of you ever gets to such extremes of wretchedness as I go to.” For some of his audience it was incomprehensible that the world’s greatest preacher could know the valley of despair. Yet twenty-one years later in 1887 he said from the same pulpit, “Personally I have often passed through the dark valley.”
The fact is – many “Good” Christians battle depression. Most of us face situational depression at some time. There are times in life when depression is a normal response to a difficult situation…
* The death of a loved one
* A disappointment in life
* Failure in some area of your life
* Relational problems
- Some battle biological factors
Depression Can be Devastating: The Psalmist felt many things during time of loneliness.
* God seemed far away – v 2.
* Life seemed meaningless – v 3
* His bones burned; He just didn’t feel well – v 3
* He experienced loss of appetite and weight loss – v 4
* He felt alone – v 6
* Felt persecuted and rejected –v 8
* Experienced times of sadness and tears – v 9
* He was painfully aware of his failures – v 10
- He felt tossed aside – v 10
Does this sound like some of the things you have experienced in life?
How do we defeat Depression? Start by…
#1. TURNING OFF THE TUNNEL VISION – v 3-10.
Depression often occurs when we focus on the circumstances surrounding a situation instead of the situation surrounding the circumstance. We become unable to see “the forest for the trees.”
In these times we must learn to dwell on the Lord’s goodness b not our pain.
#2. SURRENDER TO GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY – v 12-15.
God is in charge. He knows where you are and what you’re going through.
He knows what he is doing b even if we don’t. We must learn to trust God.
God perfects us by means of the furnace.
#3. CONCENTRATE ON GOD’S CHARACTER – v 17-22
#4. FOCUS ON THE FUTURE – v 16, 23-28.
Look past the present. God is preparing a great place for those who trust Him.
As we reach the end of Psalm 102 we see the darkness lifted.
Are you prone to deep darkness? Is it a powerful emotion that you seem powerless to change? Are you trusting God or are you trying to make it on your own?
If your depression will not go away; If you trust, and pray and nothing changes…
You may need to see a Doctor. Overcoming depression can be hindered by chemical imbalance, diet or other physical complications.
You may need to see a Christian counselor.Overwhelming, overpowering thoughts of harming yourself or others; Overwhelming, overpowering thoughts of suicide are not acceptable conditions. You must seek help immediately.
Understand what is happening; then take charge of your mind. Don’t deny the emotion . . . face it!
Here are some practical steps for defeating Depression. . . .
* Get some rest – like Elijah
* Ponder God’s Character and love – like Jesus
* Make extra time to study God’s Word – like Paul
- Spend extra time with your Christian friends and church family – like Paul.
These are usually the opposite of what you feel like doing. But take control!
Minirith/Meier Christian Counseling:
“Seven laws for living life free of Depression.”
1. Commit yourself to the purpose of glorifying God in all things.
2. Spend time daily meditating on God’s Word and applying it to your life.
3. Deal with grudges and anger daily.
4. Concentrate on building close relationships with your family.
5. Develop solid Christian friendships and spend time each week enjoying these people.
6. Be involved in a daily routine that brings personal satisfaction to you.
7. Do something nice for one special person each week.