How long Lord? by Deon Crafford
O Lord, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love. For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise? I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes. Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer. All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.
We’re living in the era of the smartphone which allows us to be connected to data and communication systems at all times. It also makes us highly dependent on a power supply to the phone and we see many people now buying additional battery packs to not be caught off guard. Power blackouts are also part of our lives and we all know the frustration of not having power restored for long periods, without any clear indicators on when it would be back. Both of these relate well to the medical condition of depression. We can see our own or someone else’s battery running out and we experience extended periods of debilitating darkness of the mind, heart and spirit. And we cry out like David, “how long Lord, how long!
The church often frowns on Depression because it is seen as a mood disturbance which we cannot fall trap to if we have the joy of the Lord. And so to the person suffering from Depression the extra load of guilt and sin is added – just because they “allowed themselves” to sink into the pit of darkness. Well, let’s take heart in this, that the man after God’s heart fell victim to this darkness often without ever being rejected. If the church fails to understand that faith alone changes not the chemical configuration of the brain and neither does it resolve existing conditions that caused reactive depression or melancholy, it is misplaced and prone to shackle the believer even further. Christians live on faith yes, but it is also faith in God knowing best how to deal with our specific situations. If the church shackles instead of bringing freedom, it is not the church of God.
Like with any physical affliction, faith alone is not the cure. We pray fervently to God to take away pain and disease while we trust in His sovereign will to do as He has authored our lives. But faith is alongside hope and hope alongside love as Paul so beautifully described to us. In our darkest moments, there is the Light – the knowledge that whatever the circumstance, God knows us and loves us, and however hopeless the outlook, in God hope always lives. Does that alleviate my Depression? No, there are various other ways in which relief or cure may be sought. But knowing God sustains me when all else seems to collapse will remain my strongest source of power. Just hold on.
Love to all