Thursday, June 2, 2016

Hope in Times of Depression/Anxiety

Why am I so depressed?
Why this turmoil within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will
still praise Him,
my Savior and my God.
          Psalm 43:5 HCS

During my morning talk with my Heavenly Father, I approached the matter of depression and anxiety. Recently, the word depressed and/or depression has flooded my conversations with family, friends, and acquaintances. Having been through a time of depression after the death of my baby sister, I have developed a deeper compassion for those who consistently struggle with anxiety and depression.

As I thought about reasons depression may be so prevalent in our society, I decided to check the morning headlines. Here is a short list of what I found:

MSN headlines June 2, 2016
UCLA gunman had accused slain professor of stealing his computer code, s
ources say

Remains of Missing 15-Year-Old Texas Girl Found Under Sink in Abandoned Apartment
Christian Rock Star Trey Pearson Comes Out to Fans in Emotional Letter
PGA Tour golfer pulls out of tournament because of ‘incredible anxiety’

San Antonio Express-News June 2, 2016
Major highway shut down due to flooding near downtown S.A.
Texas dad charged with DWI after child falls out of moving car
Man fatally shot near NW side apartments

Simply following the day’s news is exhaustively depressing. Add to that your personal and family issues and anxiety can drain your joy and happiness like an orange trapped in a juice squeezer.

I also found there is an “Anxiety and Depression Association of America.” Their website listed several anxiety/depression disorders:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Panic Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder
Specific Phobias
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Major Depressive Disorder
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

The website states that along with these disorders, co-occurrence of anxiety and other disorders may exist:

Bipolar disorder
Eating disorders
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Sleep disorders
Substance abuse
Adult ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactive disorder)
BDD (body dysmorphic disorder)
Chronic pain

My shoulders drooped as I read each list. I argued with God about writing on this topic. After all, my goal is to encourage, and I certainly find no encouragement in this topic. I realize depression and anxiety is a complicated emotional/medical issue, and I am not qualified to address it on either of those levels. But God began to remind me of the hope that is found in Him.

So, if you are facing anxiety and/or depression, seek professional help. There is no shame in finding a doctor or counselor who can help you. Christians are not immune from depression. Well-meaning friends might tell you to “snap out of it.” But depression isn’t something you can just “snap out of.”

Seek the Lord. There are many Scriptures that address anxiety/depression, encourage, and give hope. Remember, the best defense against anxiety is a strong offense from God’s Word. Here are a few that may help:

Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. (Never stop praying) Romans 12:12 HCS

Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 HCS

Therefore, we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? Hebrews 13:6 HCS

Also, Psalm 91, Psalm 92, and Psalm 139 will stir your heart to hope in The Almighty who created you, knows you, loves you, and is your help in time of trouble.

As I stated above, I am not medically qualified to address issues of anxiety/depression. But, I know personally the God who created our bodies, and I hope you do as well. If you do not, now is the time to call upon the Name of the Lord. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) The wages of that sin is death, but God’s gift to us is eternal life in Christ. (Romans 6:23) Jesus is the Only Way to the Father. (John 14:6) God demonstrated His love for us when He sent His Only Son to die in our place. (Romans 5:8) “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

Heavenly Father, my prayer today is first for salvation for those reading who may not know You, and second for help and healing for those facing depression/anxiety. Your arm is long, Lord. Your hand is mighty. You are filled with compassion for those who trust in You. I pray they will allow you to be their strong tower today, Father. In the precious Name of Jesus. Amen.

© Joyce Powell

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