This past Sunday morning at Edgewood Church, our pastor, Bill Snow, began a summer teaching series called, “Managing Troublesome Emotions”. His first topic was “Defeating Depression.” He drew his points from Psalm 77:1-15. I'd like to explore this subject, and share some of his insights. I’d also like to encourage you to visit Edgewood during the next few weeks to hear this series.
At some time in your life you will face depression. The consequences of it can rob you of your joy. The psalmist wrote, “I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint” (Psalm 77:3). With depression you have an overwhelming and defeated spirit. “You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak” (Psalm 77:4). With depression you can't sleep or speak. You are too weary to lift yourself up, but from somewhere deep within you remember joy in your life. “I remembered my songs in the night” (Psalm 77:6). In Psalm 42:3-4 David also wrote, “My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, 'Where is your God?' These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.”
The causes of depression can be many things. It can be a great loss in your life, or bad news or work-related problems. Depression can arise from problems with other people, or problems that overwhelm your spirit. It can arise from a clinical imbalance. Perhaps you have a vitamin deficiency or chemical deficiency where you need a medication. Perhaps your health is not too good. Good health is necessary to defeat depression. A good diet is necessary. Exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins promote good feelings. See your physician, and address these concerns. “Great health is the enemy of depression,” Brother Bill said, “and bad health is the friend of depression.”
“Will the Lord reject forever?” the psalmist continued. “Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion” (Psalm 77:7-9)? When you are robbed of your joy, depression gives you a pessimistic outlook on life. Nothing offers hope or promise. You become introspective, and analyze too much. These verses also reveal something else. Depression happens when you leave God out of your life.
David also wrote in Psalm 42:5, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” You can learn to encourage yourself just as David encouraged himself to rediscover his joy. Joy is not a feeling based on emotions. It is God's strength in your life that carries you through hardship and difficulty. Don't despair. If you, just as David, place your trust and hope in God, you will praise Him again. There are cures for depression, and tomorrow we will look at God's promise in defeating depression.