Disappointment, Discouragement, Depression.
We’re all fairly familiar with these. It’s something that we struggle with more often than we would like to admit. There’s always been this awkwardness with talking about these things to other people. Even in Christian circles, Depression is probably looked at as the person struggling with their Faith in God.
The recent shocking news of the lead singer of the band Linkin Park, Chester Bennington, committing suicide is all over my Facebook news feed. Apparently he had 6 children from 2 wives, everyone knows he had an illustrious career with him being one of the most well known faces even for those who don’t listen to rock music.
Makes you wonder, what would cause someone like that to suddenly take his own life? I don’t know enough about him, so it would be unfair to make assumptions about his lifestyle. But it does throw some light on the serious consequences of struggling with depression.
Depression isn’t something new, it’s always been around. The Psalmist laments in Psalm 42
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?…”
But the next line is where he encourages himself
“… Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God”
In another situation in Psalm 73:26 he acknowledges
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”
We are weak in the flesh and in our hearts, situations and circumstances may overwhelm us, but the one thing that can comfort even in those times is depending on the strength of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ because he has overcome the world (John 16:33).
Having struggled on and off with depression myself I know that what encourages me in those times is going back to God in prayer and reading through His word.
1 Peter 5:6-7 says
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”
Sometimes the hardships we face are needed to humble us and bring us to a place of dependence on God. To cast our troubles and fears on to him because he is more than capable of handling it. This is the Saviour who died on the cross to spare us from the punishment that we deserved, of course he cares!
Sometimes, even though we know these things, it’s so easy to forget them. Which is why it’s so important for us to surround ourselves with other believers who we can be accountable to and who can remind us of these truths when we need to hear it.
And lastly, as Christians, how do we respond to the people we see around us battling with discouragement? 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we may comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God”
Out of love for our friends and family, the least we can do is tell them about the hope and comfort that we receive from Jesus. We can tell them about God’s unfailing promises and encourage them to repent of the sins that they’re holding onto. And we can pray that they would never feel so discouraged that taking a drastic step like the way Chester did seems like the only way out.