DEPRESSION AND THE PROMISES OF GOD by Diana Gruver for Core Christianity

I grew up out in “the country.” We could still see neighbors’ houses, but we were largely surrounded by cornfields, cow pastures, and the neighborhood sheep across the street. At night, it was dark, the sky untouched by the lights of street lamps.

I was sometimes conscripted to pull the garbage can to the end of our long driveway. I can remember feeling fearful of what might lie in the darkness. There could be anything lurking in its shadows. Inspired by the book series I was reading at the time, I would whisper to myself, “When I am afraid, I will trust in thee” (Ps. 56:3) the length of the driveway down, the length of the driveway back. It steadied my breathing. It kept pace with my footfalls. It quieted the darkness.

As I got older, the darkness I feared became more complex. Eventually, it had a name. Depression. It too made me afraid. It too had monsters lurking in the shadows.

I can remember a particular night in college when the darkness was palpable. My roommate was gone, and thickness of the lies in my head and the sorrow in my heart were almost more than I could bear. I was scared. Scared by myself. Scared of the forces at work in my mind. Like a child in a thunderstorm, I jumped into bed and pulled the blankets over my head and began repeating out loud, challenging the darkness: “We are pressed, but not crushed” (2 Cor. 4:8). I drifted to sleep as my lips continued mouthing the words. In the dark, I needed a truth to whisper to myself. I needed a promise, a glimmer of light in which to stand. I needed a word of hope.

Anchors of Hope in the Promises

Years later, I became acquainted with Charles Spurgeon, who, amidst his mammoth ministry and preaching efforts, also sometimes suffered from depression. He too found solace in the promises offered in the Bible, even while the darkness lingered.

From him, I’ve learned to hold these promises close and repeat them often, even when they only come out in a shaky whisper. When depression darkens my hold on faith, I can cling to the promises of Scripture, even when I hardly have the strength to believe them. They are still true, even if they don’t engage my emotions as they once did, even when I can’t feel a thing. They don’t cure my depression or remove my pain, but they do keep me anchored when I can no longer find my way.

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