Prayers for Evangelical Believers:
Contending with Depression
by Ed Vasicek
Dear Lord, like the Psalmist, I say, "Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord." I do not enjoy being in these depths, Lord. I long for the days when my feet were on level ground. I remember happier times and sometimes wonder whether I will ever ascend back to them.
But in the gloom of despair and depression, I can cry to you, O Lord. And you do hear. Often I wish you would just speak the word and lift me from the lowlands. But such is rarely your way. No, you are broadening me, humanizing me, taking the leather-like qualities out of my heart and rubbing it down, softening it to conform to your gentleness. I despise the painfulness of depression and the misery of discouragement, but I know its fruit cannot be duplicated any other way.
Lord, depression is a symptom. Whether it be a result of wrong attitudes, a change in the barometer, circumstances beyond my control, or body chemistry yet to be discovered, it is frequently the lot of we Your adopted children. At times like this I am painfully aware of how much I need you, of how meaningless life is without you. But I am not without you. My life does have meaning because of you.
Father, it seems all I can do at times is focus on the negatives: disappointments, the anger I feel, or the frustration of my powerlessness to change my plight. Sometimes I am tempted to fight or flight: but often you call me to do neither, but to wait. Your Word encourages me time and time again to wait upon you, the L. Almighty, all-knowing One, I confess that I dislike waiting upon you. I want you to act swiftly, to jump to my need as though you were under my command, me the general and you the private. In reality, the tables are turned: I am your servant, you are my Master. But even so, I despise waiting. I wish I could press the fast forward button of life and zip over this time, this bitterness of my soul. Instead you sometimes press the pause button, and sometimes the waiting seems an eternity. You do this not because you are cruel: Your love was demonstrated before a watching universe at Calvary. But I don't understand. It doesn't make sense.
In the sinfulness and arrogance of my heart, I think I know better than you. But such madness passes, and I am humbled before you once again.
Deep within me I know that it is worth the wait to see you work. It is worth the wait to grow in patience. Sure, I would rather not grow and remain immatureif the choice were mine. Ease, comfort, and happiness are almost always my preferences. But I only have one choice: to go through such times with you by my sideor without you. That's it. And though my emotions may be confused, by faith I choose to go through these times with you. Your ways are not mine, and when it is all over, I will rejoice and accept the fact that you are truly all wise and all loving, though at times I cannot reconcile my emptiness with your compassion. In eternity I believe it will make sense. Only then will I understand HOW all things work together for good.
But for now, I feel emotionally burdened. I am angry, discouraged, frustrated, disgusted with it all. Thank you that you understand. Thank you that your Son experienced anger when he threw over the money-changers' tables. He experienced discouragement with the hardness and unbelief of even his own disciples. He experienced frustration at Israel's rejection of him as he cursed the fig tree. After his ascension, he was disgusted with some of his churchesand threatened to remove their candlesticks. During his earthly pilgrimage, he was described as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
Yes, it is natural to get down. Thank you, Father, for not condemning me for this, but leaving room for my emotions to fluctuate. Thank you, Son of God, that you understand, not only by your infinite knowledge, but also by your own experience. Thank you, Holy Spirit, that you understand my grief so thoroughly that you bear the name "Comforter." I need your consolation. Like your Son, Father, help me not to sin against you when I am down. Help me not seek shortcuts that do not please you. Help me run time and again to you.
And so, Father, I walk through this desert with you. Lead me to an oasis soon. Refresh my soul, and help me experience better days ahead. And if such is not my lot in this life, help me to grasp a bit of the glory of heaven. Help me borrow strength for today from my destiny of tomorrow. Help me see the brevity of my time on earth in comparison to my eternity in heaven. And most of all, dear God, thank you for saving my soul through the precious blood of Jesus Christ my Lord, in whose name I pray, Amen.
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Highland Park Church
516 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, Indiana, USA