Major Causes Of Depression (II)
Can Anyone Heal From Depression?
As human beings we were not ever meant for isolation. There’s a reason prisons use isolation as a form of punishment. It is a horrible form of torture. Yes, I know it seems that it should be easier to endure than the worst physical torture, but not having contact with another human for a prolonged period? It’s one of the easiest ways to lose hope. Besides, a person’s physical body can heal leaving less mental scarring. Therefore, we need to make amends with friends and family from whom we isolated and become willing to make new friends.
If we have become willing to forgive those who harmed us, we are ready for amends. So we need to go about it in a godly way. The essence of the process is described in The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. In summary, we meet with a mentor whom we trust to pray and discuss our amends list. We decide in that discussion what part we played in each event that went wrong between with each person on the list with whom we want to make amends.
When we meet those people in one-on-one meetings to make amends, we state clearly the things for which we take responsibility and ask for forgiveness. If it also applies we also tell how we were harmed by the other person and offer forgiveness. When the lines of responsibility are clear and honest, the process usually results in a restored or reconciled relationship.
One thing that is crucial in this process is that the goal is always reconciliation rather than resolution. Resolution says that the differences encountered in the relationship gave rise to the conflict that hindered the relationship and pulled us apart. Reconciling says that although we had a difference of opinion, we are not going to allow that difference to tear the relationship apart any longer.
An attitude of gratitude was how I climbed out of a pessimistic outlook on life and started the long ascent to joy. The moment I was healed from depression, I had two main things going on: I had been reading the Word of God on a regular basis, and I had this thing called gratitude.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)
Gratitude didn’t become a part of me overnight. It took some time and work. I took on challenge from a friend to post a gratitude list to social media for seven days in a row. The only rule was that each post had to be a distinct list from the other six posts. That revealed to me that I had far more to be grateful for than I had imagined. While I didn’t continue posting, I did continue the practice of writing down what I was grateful for each day. Gratitude became a habit.
After doing this, I decided to take up another challenge I had taken on when I became a Christian. That was to read the Bible from cover to cover. At that time I had only read snippets of the Bible. The attempt to read through the Bible with a reading plan, I didn’t complete it without a break. However, I did complete the second read-through without break. By the time I had done a fourth reading through the entire Bible, I had found that healing that my soul craved for so long. Joy finally displaced depression.
When joy displaces our depression, we need to give God the credit for bringing us here. We must also recognize that Jesus is the source of that joy. But how does God do this?
Jesus Gives Us His Shalom
Shalom is a Hebrew word that translates as peace, but the reality is that its true meaning does not translate well into other languages.
Shalom is completeness, soundness, welfare, peace (as noun), safety, health, prosperity, peace (in quiet, tranquility, contentment), friendship (both with humans and God), peace from war. The better single-word translation is serenity. That peace is in knowing and believing in faith that whatever evil is going on around us, God is in control maintaining a balance no one else can achieve.
Jesus will answer all of our questions on Judgment Day. We just need to have patience for that time to arrive, just as Abraham has been patient waiting for.
God Strengthens Us
God has great power. He created the universe we live in and everything in it. He created us and all the living beings that live on our planet. That same power raised Jesus from the grave and declared victory over death’s sting.
To access that power, we must wholly trust in and rely on God. When we do that He gives us the strength to endure our every day lives. We can endure the worst insults with this power. The worst struggles become easy.
God Forgives Us and Heals Us
God’s forgiveness of our sins is contingent on us forgiving others.
Mark 2:1-12 tells us the story of a paralytic man whose friends bring him to Jesus on a mat, cutting the roof of the house open because the house was overcrowded. To make the point that Jesus has the power and authority to heal, he tells the paralyzed man that his sins are forgiven. As the scribes in the crowd think He is blaspheming, He asks if it is better to tell the man that his sins are forgiven or to pick up his mat and go home. So He tells him to pick up the mat and go home.
read also: God prospers those who keep on seeking Him.
The Lord’s Prayer asks God to forgive our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. As I refer to forgiveness in my chapter on the subject in The Branch and the Vine and Rev. Eric Jinkwen also refers in his Dealing with Unforgiveness devotional, not forgiving others results in some dire consequences, God does not forgive us and may not hear our prayers (Mark 11:24-26); God will not receive our offerings (Matthew 5:23-24); God leaves us to the mercy of tormentors as Jesus tells us in the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35).
So forgiving others is not for the one we forgive. It is for us and our freedom. That is why God commands us to forgive.
So as Jesus healed the paralytic, He also forgave him. As we are sinners, any time we need healing we likely also need forgiveness and vice-versa. So as we pray for healing in Jesus’ name, we forgive others and ask for forgiveness.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
–1 Peter 2:24
God Fights Our Battles
It is not evident to the world, but there is a spiritual war going on. It is the oldest ongoing war. God and His army of angels are on our side, while Satan and his dark angels oppose God. Yet we do not need to fear, because Satan has no power against God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is why Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, which I discuss in my article on gratitude.
Jesus Is Real
Jesus is real, fully God and fully man. We must grasp in faith that it is through Jesus that we have life. Without Him we would have perished long ago.
His disciples saw how real Jesus was first hand was as they witnessed His many works and miracles from God. He saved a newlywed couple from embarrassment at their wedding banquet by turning water into wine, fed 5000 men plus women and children in a desolate place with five loaves of bread and two fish, twice saved the disciples from a stormy sea, healed many sick, blind, deaf and lame people and raised people from the dead before dying for our sins and defeating death by being raised from the grave.
As Jesus is fully God, the power that raised Him is still active today, and we can access that power through prayer by speaking to God in Jesus’ name.
Jesus Is Our Friend
Jesus’ desire is to have a relationship with us that allows us to fulfill His purpose for us. Judas who betrayed Jesus fulfilled a purpose for Him in that betrayal. But He called Judas “friend” at the moment when He was arrested. How much more should we believe that Jesus wants our friendship?
Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. (Matthew 26:50 ESV)
I’ve noticed many people wonder how Judas could betray the Christ and send Him to the cross, but that was the way God devised that He would be the sacrifice for our sins.
Whatever our purpose is in Christ, the Holy Spirit reveals it to us, and if we listen to Him in our spirit, we will hear the answer to our question, “what is my purpose?”
God Loves Us and Will Never Forsake Us
God loves us and created the universe and our planet just for the purpose of giving us a home. God is eternal and unchanging, although some people like to point out that He seems more angry in the Old Testament than in the New Testament (especially in the Gospels).
I have done a study of the word forsake and its derivations in the Bible. I found that the only uses of forsake refer or depict Jesus on the cross exclaiming that God has forsaken Him. All of the others are of Israel or Judah forsaking God.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” –Matthew 27:46
God is always with us, because He loves us, and He’ll never change.
He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” –Deuteronomy 31:8
He even lights the path of our life.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. –Psalm 119:105
Hope and Faith
It is impossible to live without hope. We can survive about three to five weeks without food. We can survive three to five days without water. But we can only survive three to five hours without hope.
The kind of hope I speak of here is not a hope that we would succeed in any earthly endeavor or that we would manage to win a race. The hope I speak of is on a far greater level. It is the hope we have in the promises of God.
Is one of God’s promises better than others? That depends of our perspective. We can divide these promises into two categories: life on earth and the afterlife.
For us in this life, God promises us many things:
- His help and guidance
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. (Psalm 32:8 ESV)
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26 ESV)
- His faithfulness
- His strength and power
- His provision
- Deliverance from enemies, temptation, perils and evil spirits
- His healing
- Our salvation,
peace, joy, and love, riches in heaven, adoption into His family, strength and power, His provision, eternal life, deliverance (from enemies, from danger, from temptation), healing, and renewal.
Jesus promises that we will have eternal life if we repent and believe in Him, because His love for us is that great.
The Struggles of Life
Even when God heals us of depression, our circumstances do not change. God does not protect or prevent us from encountering the same issues we had before God healed us.
It’s possible that while we were still depressed some of our actions intensified our circumstances, but with faith in God, we can endure any difficulties we encounter on our journey through life. We can trust that He will take us through those difficulties and work everything out for good according to His purpose because we love Him.
I am certain that if I had known at the time when I was a teenager that I would struggle in life and that I could trust God in such a way as this, I would not have become depressed. However, I probably would not have listened to this, because I had no hard struggles except for the buried pain of my elementary school years.
I’m grateful for everyone that ever crossed my path. Why? I’m happy with who I am, and the people I met and decisions I made are what reshaped me.
I believe that part of the reason I endured and survived depression was that I couldn’t accept it. While I thought the state of my mental health was normal, deep inside of me I had a sense that something was not right.
If I had actually accepted depression, I would not even have tried to discover a solution as I did. I may not have made plans for suicide as I had not done so in the previous 30-plus years of suffering in depression. So I probably wouldn’t have written this book either because I might not have received any healing from depression. That is all the more reason to be grateful in that I did make plans for suicide and I did pray for the evil spirit of suicide to leave me, which Jesus did cast out from me.
read also: major causes of depression (I)
Gaining Freedom from Depression
by Stephen D. Edwards
Published by Stephen D. Edwards