She was scared to walk into our dim kitchen last night, regardless of how much I assured her it was safe. She needed the light to prove to herself that everything she'd been feeling about the dark was untrue.
It's the same when someone is depressed. Regardless of how much assurance people give them, they need the light to show them the truth about their situation. But where does this light come from?
Some people find it through therapy. Some find it through medicine. Others, like Emily Weirenga, find it through faith. Here is her story:
I’ve never heard music like it...
At the end of “God is good, all the time,” the worship leader shared how this song was her son’s favorite. How it had been his favorite since he was three-years-old, how she’d sung it every night over him, even as he went through cancer as a child, even as chemo wracked his five-year-old body — it remained his favorite song. God is good — all the time.
The congregation was silent...
And then the pastor rose and spoke about Robin Williams and depression.
He spoke to a congregation about the need to get real with God.
About how depression is not necessarily the curse that it seems — but rather, a gift. An invitation from God to let in the light.
Madeleine L’Engle says this:
“Those who believe they believe in God, but without passion in the heart,
without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair,
believe only in the idea of God, and not in God himself.”
I sat there in my pew digesting the hope of this pastor’s words — me, a girl who has battled depression her whole life, who often wonders if depression is a curse, who often wonders how one can be saved if one doesn’t feel the joy the Bible speaks of.
Yet, what if all this wrestling with our pain is a way of getting close to Jesus?
What if joy is hidden in the folds of sorrow? What if light is found leaking through the curtain of darkness?
“It’s when you’re depressed that you need to rely on radical faith,” the young pastor said, “because faith does not require sight. And when you’re depressed, all you see is darkness. So faith is the light in the darkness.”
He went through Lamentations, Job, the Psalms, Jonah, Jeremiah — pointing out the melancholy of each writer and the intimacy each writer also had with God. And how God did not give up on the writer but rather drew closer to him during his suffering. And then he reminded us of Jesus, crying out “My God, my God — why have you forsaken me?” and if the Savior of the world can be this real and hopeless, why can’t we?
Depression, he said, is not an invitation to give up, but rather, to “Be still, and know (He is) God.”
Feeling the heartache of the world is not a sign that you are far from God, but rather, very close to Him, as you are in tune with the suffering of His people. So rather than feeling berated for your sorrow, ask God to speak to you through it — to show you how this is, in fact, a gift rather than a curse. To draw close to you during the darkness and let HIS light overpower the shadows of the world.
It is not up to YOU to change your depression, the pastor said. Yes, sometimes we need meds. And sometimes we need to just be still in the night of our soul. To wait for God to declare — as He has from the beginning --“Let there be light.”