I know from experience that years of depression can cause us to believe God no longer has a purpose for us. We can become convinced that our dreams of success will never come true, and we fear we’ll never again have healthy relationships. I’ve been so depressed that I couldn’t possibly envision God using me as a newspaper columnist, so disappointed in myself that I stopped believing I could accomplish any goal I set for myself, and so needy that most of my friends found it hard to hang out with me. Despite my years of emotional turmoil and suicide attempts, God never gave up on me. God will never give up on you, either.
As I write this, I’m asking God to give me words to encourage you and get you past the fearful, uncertain, hopeless moment you may be in. I want to assure you, on the basis of Philippians 1:6, that you have a powerfully compassionate God who will never stop working in you: “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (NIV).
Some of you may be wondering if God has heard your cries for help. Perhaps some of you had an unsafe relationship with your earthly father that makes the idea of going to your heavenly Father feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Maybe some of you have allowed the imperfections of the people around you shape your perception of God. But what if God is a much better provider than we’ve ever dared to believe? Isn’t it worth considering?
God loves us all unreservedly and grieves whenever we are in pain. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Even if you think it won’t work because you’ve tried it before, try trusting God’s love one more time. It may help to call on someone who has a close relationship with God and ask them to pray with you and help you find rest.
Please don’t wait until things get worse. Allow God to embrace you with compassion. God can help to break the cycle of hopelessness. As Philippians 1:6 tells us, God is working nonstop in us and for us. And God wants us to experience success, enjoy healthy relationships, and laugh again.
Such experiences may seem more like faraway dreams than real possibilities. They once seemed that way to me too. I prayed and prayed for stability. After spending time in counseling and clinging to God’s word, I experienced small steps of victory. And eventually, I was free from my depression and suicidal thoughts.
God wants us all to experience freedom; God desires to give us purpose and significance. So let us go to God, spend as much time with God as we can, read scripture, and talk with God. Every time your mind begins to race with despairing thoughts, try pausing and reminding yourself that God is at work and won’t stop until God’s good work reaches completion in you.
Sheryl H. Boldt writes fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. Her weekly devotions have appeared in newspapers across the South since 2014. She is also the author of the blog www.TodayCanBeDifferent.net.
If you or someone you know is in crisis or experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Speaking of Suicide also provides a list of resources for those in crisis and their loved ones.
The worship, preaching, and teaching for The Upper Room’s RESILIENCE conference were among the best I have ever experienced. The event was extremely well organized and went so smoothly. The Upper Room continues to make so much impact on people around the world.”
Join us for the next RESILIENCE conference. Learn more at UpperRoom.org/resilience.