“And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” ~ Matthew 14:31
Darkness and fears over took me. I was overwhelmed and could not look up. The shadows of death surrounded my heart. Wisdom faded from view and I could not trust my own thoughts. Discouragement cut into my heart like a knife and joy escaped me. The terrors of the night seized my heart. I found no peace. My prayers seemed far from me and God was not in all my thoughts. Have these thoughts ever penetrated into your heart? If so, you are not alone in your fears and doubts. There are others that faced the same thoughts. I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. ~ Psalms 6:6. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. ~ Psalms 10:4. In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? ~ Psalms 11:1. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. ~ Psalms 18:5. For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. ~ Psalms 18:28. O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. ~ Psalms 22:2. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. ~ Psalms 32:4. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. ~ Psalms 38:4. For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me. ~ Psalms 40:12. Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death. ~ Psalms 44:19. My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. ~ Psalms 55:3-4.
In Pilgrim’s Progress, Pilgrim finds himself in Doubting Castle held prisoner by Giant Despair. He sinks down in despair unable to overcome the overwhelming thoughts of failure. Our ignorance of our sin leads us to just shut down and not deal with the root of the problem. At first, we might think we can deal with the doubts on our own. We may have the attitude that no one needs to know of our doubting. But in the darkness of our little home, the darkness will over take us. When we get this way we are now a person struggling with depression or anxiety. When we realize that we need help then we should sit down with only one or two precious godly friends and share with them what we are facing.
A lot of times indifference can lead to an unmovable heart. When the LORD stops working in our lives we need to realize that something is wrong. If we don’t see that we’ve come to a wall in our spiritual walk and we are truly saved, we will become flooded by doubts. The Word of God talks about our heart being deceitful and the only one who can know our heart is God. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” ~ Jeremiah 17:9. God wants to change our lives and cause us to see our lives through His eyes. We are told to examine ourselves in 2 Corinthians 13:5. “Examineyourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”
Here are some tips that will help us get out of a depressive state. First, we needed to listen to good godly music. Secondly, we need to listen to messages of Good Godly preachers. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” ~ John 17:17. Thirdly, we need to recognize that getting consumed with doubt is giving place to the devil. “Neither give place to the devil.” ~ Ephesians 4:27. Fourth, understand that we cannot force ourselves into some spiritual place of victory. We shouldn’t try to fix it or we’ll miss out on what the LORD is trying to teach us! There will be times when we cannot get victory over our thoughts and we may even doubt our salvation. Don’t just give in and let the thoughts have free course. We may hate them but if we don’t deal with them they will overtake us.
When we do not deal with thoughts, we are lettinginiquity take over, and it ends up being like a never-ending vicious cycle that will continue to drain us. Our thoughts, even if they seem right and good, are not necessarily God’s thoughts. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11. Our mind is not programmed to think like God. God wants to teach us and He uses the fiery trails to break us. It is when we are broken He then can begin working in our lives. “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” ~ Isaiah 64:8. Someone once wisely said, “Sow a thought – reap a habit; sow a habit – reap a destiny.” Our minds are programmed when we are born with a sin nature. And we can’t just delete the program and reinstall a new one. But yet God, who knows our thoughts and our heart, can begin to root out those thoughts and replace them with right thinking. Right thinking comes only by the Word of God. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” ~ 2 Timothy 3:16. Habitual thoughts will flash in the back of our minds without even our thinking on them. We may try to conduct our lives as though everything is alright. But the instability of our lives will cause those doubts to seep through. The first thing that one can notice on a person who is deeply troubled will be their countenance. “Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart.” ~ Nehemiah 2:2. We may try to hide our struggles but within weeks the darkness will be so thick that we won’t be able to see a glimpse of sunshine from God’s Word. Don’t turn everything off thinking that is the answer. There will be things that we need to turn off, but there is also going to be things we need to turn on. Turning off the television is a very good idea but sitting in total silence when your mind won’t shut off is not helpful. Ever try to hear from the LORD but can’t get past the walls? When this happens we need to call upon the LORD even when we don’t think our prayers are getting through.
Our spiritual immaturity and thinking we know it all will keep us from hearing from the LORD. When we constantly come to the LORD having the attitude “Oh I know that, LORD,” the LORD isn’t going to work in our life because we aren’t open to hearing from him. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolishheart was darkened.” ~ Romans 1:21. When we long to hear from Him, He will give us light. “Thou hast made us for Thyself O LORD; and our Heart is Restless until it rests on Thee.” “Blessed is the man that maketh the LORD his trust.” ~ Psalms 40:4. Romans 8 is an excellent chapter to read when going through depression or doubt. God always wants to use doubts to teach us some very powerful lessons. One of those lessons is humility. Ask yourself when is the last time you thought of the cross and fell to your knees in gratefulness? Ever think of being in the presence of Jesus, what is your reaction when you think of that moment? Do you fall on your knees in tears, or do you have the attitude “that’s nice” and your heart remains untouched? When you humble yourself, Christ will meet you. The doubts might yell out to you but look up! Christ will settle those doubts. Just as Salvation is of God and only God does the saving; So Victory is of God and only God gets the Victory through our lives. Claim the promises of God! “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” ~ 1 Peter 1:5. “ The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” ~ Romans 8:16. “ And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9.
I hope this is an encouragement to you. Maybe, you are facing depression. Please know you are not alone. Maybe, though you have never faced depression, you now have a better understanding of how to be an encouragement to those who are. Depression is a real thing. God wants to use it for His good. The Devil wants to use it to destroy the hurting. Please don’t criticize someone facing depression – that doesn’t help the person but rather just makes things so much worse. And for those of you who maybe facing doubts and fears – remember you have a good God who wants good things for you.