I’ve invited my friend (and the Web Administrator here) to share with you what God has been teaching her. Last week, Molly gave you a candid look into her struggle with depression and I’m sure many of you found her testimony encouraging. Today, she’ll be continuing with her story as she reconciles the issue of experiencing depression while worshiping God.
I’m thankful that you’ve welcomed Molly to spend a few Mondays with us here on the blog!
Molly is a graduate of Moody Bible College and will be married in August. She is preparing to enter vocational ministry with her husband and also has the desire to be used as a writer. I’ve followed her blog for years and love her passion for God to be glorified. I think you’ll enjoy hearing her heart.
Here’s Molly ~
How can we worship God in the midst of depression? I ended last week’s post with this question, and I will attempt to begin to answer it here.
I believe that this is where lament comes in, for this is exactly what caused many of the Biblical writers to view their suffering as redemptive. This is what the Psalmists did when they honestly communicated their anguish, despair, depression, tears, grief, feelings of abandonment, and anger to the Lord. In Psalm 42, we see the author expressing his deep anguish and despair in the form of a lament.
[box]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…
I will say to God, my rock,
“Why have You forgotten me?
Why must I go about in sorrow
because of the enemy’s oppression?”
Here the author is experiencing a very real conflict within himself. He is depressed and feeling turmoil. He is feeling oppressed by his enemies and forgotten by God. Not only is he experiencing this intense battle within his soul, but he expresses it honestly before the Lord. And though he is downcast, he still calls the Lord his “Savior” and his “God,” his “Rock” and the One in whom he places his hope.
There is Hope found in the “and yet” expressed by the Psalmist.
Though I am experiencing depression and turmoil in this world, I will yet praise Him.
To lament honestly before the Lord is to open your heart to Him in an intimate, personal way. This is what the other Psalmists did when they honestly communicated their anguish, despair, depression, tears, grief, feelings of abandonment, and anger to the Lord. “Awake Lord! Why do You sleep?” (Psalm 44:23), “Return, O Lord! How long?” (Psalm 90:13), “I cry out to God Most High” (Psalm 57:2). These are all cries from the hearts of those who are experiencing deep anguish and grief. The redemption is found first in the honest communication that is found between the crier and the Lord, and then in the second part of the lament: “and yet.”
And yet… “He will send from heaven and save me; He will put to shame him who tramples on me. God will send out His steadfast love and His faithfulness!” (Psalm 57:3).
And yet… “Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139:10).
And yet… “You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head” (Psalm 3:3).
And yet… “I cried aloud to the Lord, and He answered me from His holy hill” (Psalm 3:4).
There is Hope found in the “and yet” expressed by these Psalmists. Though I am experiencing suffering and depression in this world, yet I will praise Him.
In my own attempt to lament honestly before the Lord, I penned these words to Him during one of my darkest times:
Sometimes my depression moves me towards You,
Longing for Heaven and a Better Home.
Sometimes it pushes me away from You,
Running to anywhere, looking to roam.
Anchor me, Lord, hold me fast, I pray.
Steady my mind and my heart, stay.
It is You I need, only You who can heal.
Reveal Yourself to me, my heart to Yours, seal.
With the Psalmists, let us not dismiss or ignore the deep feelings of anguish and trouble within our own souls. Let us not dismiss the very real and prevalent issue of depression in the lives of so many, believers and nonbelievers alike. To ignore depression is to ignore very real and deep feelings of our brothers, our sisters, and ourselves. To not be honest with ourselves, each other, and the Lord about these feelings is to rob ourselves of rich community with other believers and intimate communion with the Lord, our Great Counselor.
Let us not forfeit the ability to grasp the Hope that is offered in the “and yets” that the Psalmists express. Let us follow the Biblical examples that are laid before us and say along with them:
[box]“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.”[/box]