By Mel Ferrier
Depression. Considering it affects over 40 million Americans I’d say it’s a subject we should chat about . I’ve watched my closest family members struggle with it, and I’ve personally battled it in certain seasons of my life. But did you know the Bible actually has a natural remedy for depression? It’s in the form of a two-sided key.
If you’ve ever personally battled depression, you know how weak and powerless you feel when you’re constantly pulled into that dark and hopeless pit. You long for solitude, yet solitude seems to perpetuate the darkness you feel inside. You have to persuade yourself to do anything, everything—even the smallest tasks, like showering or eating. You feel constantly weary and hopeless. Depression zaps life from you.
Thankfully for us, Jesus has not left us alone to battle depression. He has given us a solution through His Word! Nehemiah 8:10 and Psalm 28:7 tell us the joy of the Lord is our strength. If we’re weak, and we need strength to beat depression, the Bible says joy does that.
Joy is our strength. Happiness depends on our circumstances; joy depends on our God.
You may be thinking, “In theory, that’s great, but how do I get this joy?” I’m glad you asked! Psalm 16:11 tells us that in the presence of God, there is fullness of joy! Not just a speck, not just a small portion, but fullness. (That means a whole heap of joy, just for you!) The good news is, Jesus made a way for us to enter into His presence. Psalm 100:4 tells us how we can experience fullness of joy: with thanksgiving and praise. I love how the Passion Translation puts it: Come right into His presence with thanksgiving! You can pass through His open gates with the password of praise! Come bring your thank offering to Him and affectionately bless His beautiful name! For the Lord is always good and ready to receive you; He’s so loving that it will amaze you! The gates are thrown open through the love of Jesus, and when we bask in His love, it fills us with joy which strengthens us and can pull us from the pit of depression.
So again, what is this key to unlocking His presence? It’s a two-sided key called thanksgiving and praise! Thanksgiving is not just holding hands and spouting cliché sentimentality once a year before we gorge ourselves on turkey and mashed potatoes. Having a heart of thanksgiving toward God is deliberately focusing on His handiwork in every area of our lives. A friend sending a pick-me-up on social media. Getting a green light at a stoplight that’s always red. A sale at a store that has what you need at just the price you can afford. Your spouse sending you a sweet text message to say he loves you (or a steamy text message, to say he really loves you!) God’s presence is in all these things! Look for them, and you’ll begin to see just how much Jesus loves and takes care of you. And when you begin to develop this heart of thankfulness, it ushers in His presence!
The second part of the two-sided key is praising Him. This means showing Him honor, admiring Him, telling Him how much you love Him. The best part of praise is that it’s diverse! God created us individually so we could express our love for Him in an individual way. For me, I love to praise Him through singing, praying, writing, talking about Him and His goodness, and sometimes even dancing before Him. I use the skills and gifts He’s given me to pour back out on Him. That’s the true heart of praise.
With this two-sided key of thanksgiving and praise, we’re able to unlock the doors to His throne room, enter His presence, and receive from Him. In His presence, we’re able to commune with Him and shower Him with our affections. In His presence, we find an abundance of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, grace, and mercy. (Galatians 5:22-23, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7) In that moment when we realize God’s astounding love and care, depression begins to lift. Worries begin to cease. In His presence, our pile of ash turns to beauty (Isaiah 61:3) and voices of anxiety quiet. We see ourselves with the same power, love, and strength He sees us with (2 Timothy 1:7), and we begin to truly believe we actually can do all things (including rise from the black pit of depression) because Christ has strengthened us (Philippians 4:13). Not because we are strong enough, but because we belong to the source of strength: the Prince of Peace, the Comforter, the Healer, the Redeemer, and the Savior.
When we belong to Jesus, He heals us with His love.