Cry of Faithfulness
Faith During Depression

She is 35, a wife, and mother of three. Lately she has been experiencing some frightening feelings. Life doesn't hold much excitement these days. With her dreams of a husband and children realized, she finds herself asking, "Is this all there is? Doesn't it get any better?"
 

  Print    

Advertisement

Codex Sinaiticus

New Testament:

from the famed discovery

 

The earliest, oldest New Testament text has finally been released to the public.  You may read the Codex Sinaiticus online - but only if you know Greek!  To read it inCodex Sinaiticus New Testament H T Anderson English English, you need the only English translation we know.  The H. T. Anderson English Translation of the Codex Sinaiticus, with the three extra early New Testament books and the Sonnini Manuscript of Acts 29 included, and the original absences of certain verses (put in there later by the 'church') is now available only at here.  

THIS IS NOT A CHEAP, SCANNED-IN FACSIMILE. This is a first edition of the text published in easy-to-read Georgia font with plenty of room between verses for your notes.2 points between verses, hard or soft cover.

Advertisement

The Nazarene Acts
of the Apostles

Also known as
The Recognitions of Clement

Ever wonder why PAUL and not PETER received the mission to the lost tribes?  Wasn't Peter the stone upon which the "church" was to be built?  In this new translation of the Nazarene Acts, we follow Kefa (Peter) as he itinerates from Jerusalem and up the Mediterranean coast up to Tripoli, as recorded in the journals of his successor, Clement of Rome (Phi 4:3).  Every message Kefa preached, the company he kept, and the great works of faith the the Almighty accomplished through him are herein recorded.  This 300 page volume has been 'hidden' in the back of an obscure volume of the "Church Fathers" all this time.  Could it be that, in establishing the Gentile 'church' by pushing away from Judaism, this history was purposely hidden?

Snyder Bible Home    All Sermons

Psalm 22:1-18 {below}

A Common Theme

She is 69 years old. She's been a widow for two years. She's involved in church and does volunteer work in the community. But most of the time, loneliness is her companion. She misses her husband and the closeness she had with her children. She wishes she didn't feel this way.

He is 47. Divorced for a year, he has regrets that he didn't understand his wife better before she left. He wishes he hadn't worked so much and had spent more time with his children. Already they treat him like a stranger, and they don't seem to enjoy their weekends with him. And his work no longer brings him joy. He has to fight off depression.

She is 35, a wife, and mother of three. Lately she has been experiencing some frightening feelings. Life doesn't hold much excitement these days. With her dreams of a husband and children realized, she finds herself asking, "Is this all there is? Doesn't it get any better?" She is tired all the time - she feels exhausted. Her husband doesn't have much time for her anymore. Recently she has been tempted to try some things she never previously would even think about. This scares her.

Angela is 16. School ought to be exciting, but she is struggling. She puts her struggle into this poem:

Leave me alone, I'm trying to hide!
I want to be by myself  'Cause I'm crying inside!
I don't want you to hear me. I won't let it show.
I don't want you to see it; I don't want you to know!
I just want to be joyful... Show happiness and glee.
I don't ever want anyone To know the real me.
Well, now that you've gone away... There's just me in this home.
Oh, please, please come back, I don't want to be alone.

What is the common theme in the lives of all four of these persons? They are all suffering from depression.
 

The Cry of Abandonment

Let's look into the Bible to see what it says about us who just feel too much. Turn to the experience of King David in Psalm 22:1-2:

Psa 22:1-18 My Ěl, My Ěl, why have You forsaken Me – Far from saving Me, far from the words of My groaning? O My Elohim, I call by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I find no rest. 

David is desperate, and demanding salvation. Here is a man of legendary faith who has become a victim of his deepest fear -- abandonment, even by Yahweh. David was depressed, had not lost his senses. In verses 3-5 he steps outside his soul and reminds himself of Yahweh's identity and reputation for faithfulness

Yet You are set-apart, Enthroned on the praises of Yisra’ĕl. Our fathers trusted in You; They trusted, and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; They trusted in You, and were not ashamed.

Here is a lesson for us. In those times when we wonder where Yahweh is, when we feel abandoned and powerless, we need step away from our feelings and look back at our experiences of his faithfulness. Our memory of Yahweh's providence is the easiest antidote for the poison of spiritual depression. Yahweh has not left us alone in the past -- he has come through time after time. And despite how we feel, Yahweh is with us in this present moment, and he will not abandon us in the future.

You see, perceiving the hand of Yahweh in our lives is like standing on the bow of a great ship in turbulent waters, looking out over the vast waves ahead and the storm clouds brewing above. Thus we survey the future with fear and uncertainty. We feel inadequate from this vantage point -- troubled and sleepless.

But when we go back to the stern of the ship and assess from whence our ship has come, we gaze out at the straight and certain wake that follows behind. We can see where we've been and how Yahweh has brought us through time after time. That steady wake is the steady work of a loving Yahweh. He has been there in the past even as he is now and will be in the uncertainty of the future.

The Cry of Despair

David not only felt abandoned, but he felt the worthlessness of deep despair. Listen to his desperate cry in verses 6 - 18:

But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. All those who see Me mock Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, “He trusted in יהוה, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, seeing He has delighted in Him!” For You are the One who took Me out of the womb; Causing Me to trust while on My mother’s breasts. I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s belly You have been My Ěl. Do not be far from Me, For distress is near; For there is none to help. Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong ones of Bashan have encircled Me. They have opened their mouths against Me, As a raging and roaring lion. I have been poured out like water, And all My bones have been spread apart; My heart has become like wax; It has melted in the midst of My inward parts. My strength is dried like a potsherd, And My tongue is cleaving to My jaws; And to the dust of death You are appointing Me. For dogs have surrounded Me; A crowd of evil ones have encircled Me, Piercing My hands and My feet; I count all My bones. They look, they stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, And for My raiment they cast lots.  (ISR The Scriptures)

David is overwhelmed and paranoid. In his mind, he is surrounded by people and events that were threatening and out of control. Some of the rejection he felt was real, some was imagined. The mind may exaggerate trouble or rejection or anxiety to the point of despair, mental darkness, and withdrawal. Depression is a downward spiral into an abyss of mental gloom and physical pain. Did you note David's classic physical symptoms for depression?

he is poured out like water: chronic fatigue,
his bones are out of joint: arthritis-like pain,
his strength dried up: weakness and apathy,
his tongue cleaving to his mouth: dehydration,
and people gloating over him: paranoia.

But notice that David admits he has a problem, and appeals to Yahweh for help: "Trouble is mine, and only You can help!" David knows in his mind that, though the pain would drown him, Yahweh has not abandoned ship.

When we feel drowned, we too must assert the power of our faith in the face of feelings that would belie that faith. If need be, we must affirm over and over again Yahshua' promise to be with us always, even to the end of the world!

Messiahians and Depression

At least 1 out of 5 Americans suffer the depression of David at least once in their lives. Like David's, the symptoms include exhaustion, confusion, pain, apathy, fear, feelings of worthlessness, paranoia. The very essence of depression is a loss of perspective. It is looking from the bottom of the spiral up. The danger is in what we reach out for to get relief: alcohol, drugs, anger and rage, withdrawal from society, illicit sexual relations, suicide.

But why do Messiahians get depressed? We're supposed to have it all together in Messiah! There are several reasons, the most probably has to do with biology. We have recently learned that there is a genetic link to severe moodiness and depression; that depression is often caused by a hormonal imbalance. So it is often a biological problem that causes the mental problem. The latest treatment for depression is replacing the deficient hormone, bringing tremendous and permanent relief to as many as 80% of chronic sufferers of depression.

We must rejoice that Yahweh has revealed this knowledge to our generation. A (fairly) recent issue of Messiahianity Today has many testimonies of Messiahians who are rejoicing in their relief of chronic depression. Let me share a testimony of one 35-year-old man:

Before therapy, I felt obsessed about being perfect. Whenever I sinned, I couldn't shake the obsession of how bad I was and that it was up to me to forgive myself. When the medication kicked in, I found I could simply accept that I wasn't perfect; I was at peace about my sinfulness and accepted the fact that only Yahweh, and not I, could save me.

The therapy put me in a position where I needed to decide again whether I wanted to follow Messiah and determine why. I've concluded that I want to follow him because I love him, not because of what he can do for me. In that way, the medication has helped me to arrive at a more mature view of my Messiahian walk.

Our Lord does not want us to suffer with depression. He wants us to reach out for the resources he has provided, so that we might be all he meant us to be in his Kingdom. Now we don't think twice when a diabetic uses insulin to correct a chemical imbalance. We shouldn't think twice about someone low in serotonin using herbs or medication to replace what is missing. And if we are chemically deficient in some way, we ought to replace what we need until such time as Messiah heals us permanently. If your ship doesn't steer well through the waves, by all means, pour in some power steering fluid.

The point here is that King David's experience shows us something extremely important. Despite his bleak depression, he reached out for the answer. He made an effort to be healthy, even if it meant confronting his Yahweh.

The Cry of Faithfully Reaching Out

Let's look at his cry of reaching out in verses 19-21:

Psa 22:19 But You, O יהוה, do not be far off; O My Strength, hasten to help Me! Deliver My life from the sword, My only life from the power of the dog. Save Me from the mouth of the lion, And from the horns of the wild beasts! You have answered Me.

David reaches out for an answer. Perhaps the wisest thing you could do is to reach out to Yahweh through a trusted Messiahian professional who will hear your pain and offer you help. In fact, the very act of sharing your pain can break some of the feeling that "there is no help."

In the face of loneliness and depression, the worst thing we can do is to do nothing. Even if it is without feeling, we must continue to put one foot in front of the other as we seek to be faithful to Yahweh's direction. Listen to these words by a recovering alcoholic:

While it is part of sober living to rely on Yahweh and Yahweh's will for us in order to live our lives, it is not correct to think that I can just sit around waiting for Yahweh to reveal the plan. I will keep moving as well. There is much to be said about relaxing with life and not fighting it, but standing still for too long is not healthy. In sober living, I will keep moving while I am looking for guidance from Yahweh. I will participate in my own life. If I just sit in the closet and pray all day, all I will get is coat hangers!

Likewise, as King David decides to move out in faith, his testimony becomes triumphant. He sailed from despair to hope. And so must we.

The Cry of Hope

Listen to David as a messenger of hope to seekers in verses 23-24:

    Psa 22:23 You who fear יהוה, praise Him! All you seed of Ya'aqoḇ, esteem Him, And fear Him, all you seed of Yisra’ĕl!  

  • For He has not despised Nor hated the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from Him; But when He cried to Him, He heard.

 

This completes the cycle: David has moved from depression to hope, even to the hope of a bright new future. It has been asked, "If Yahweh is far from you, who moved?" Has he abandoned you? Or is it that your overwhelming feelings have washed away the sense that he abides with you, even through the valley of the shadow of death? Yes, Yahweh has been with you all along, even if you didn't sense Him! Yahweh knows you, knows what you are going through, and is going through it with you!

In Hebrews 4:15 we read that Yahshua was tested just as we are. He knew times of trouble. In John 11:33, Yahshua is said to be "deeply moved in spirit and troubled." In Isaiah's prophesy, we read that our Lord "is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (53:5).

Yahshua knew loneliness too. Look at his mother's and brothers' misunderstanding of his important mission, the dullness of his disciples perception of who he was, his betrayal by his disciple Judas, the denial of Peter, and finally, his cry of dereliction from the cross.

He was despised and mocked. And what was his response? In the face of misunderstanding and bumbling and betrayal, he comforted. In the face of cruelly and in spite of his executioners, he prayed, "Father, forgive them." In the face of his cry of abandonment from the cross, he went on to offer another prayer from the Psalms. Do you know what that prayer was? It is from Psalm 31:5: "Into thine hand I commend my spirit."

With David (and/or Yahshua) as our model(s), in the face of all the darkness of depression, let us continually pray the prayer of faith: "Father, into thy hand I commit my spirit, my life, all my worries, all my anxiety, and all my despair." Yahweh's got the whole world in his hands, and that includes you.

Jackson Snyder, November 9, 1995
loosely based on Bill Blackburn

Top