Depression: an embarrassment to be hidden, or a door for grace to enter through?


Depression, or inability, or any sort of lack are not embarrassments to be hidden, but are means of grace and teaching, doors to a deeper faith, doors through which grace enters.

“…the experiences of anxiety and depression make a lot of sense in a fallen world. In one way, you could say the miracle is that everyone is not in a continual panic attack and completely in despair, because when you’re without God and without hope you ought to be anxious and you ought to be despairing. And I think as Christian people we’re not immune to any of the pain and the loss and the heartache.

… there’s a way where anxiety and depression are very human experiences, and that’s very freeing … In humility, you’re a human being, I’m a human being. We both struggle…

I’m not saying it’s a desired thing to be depressed or to be anxious, but that you go through it and you find grace, and it’s a door to a deeper faith … [When we’re depressed or anxious], we want the quick fix…but God is patient: deep problems don’t have quick solutions…

One of my favorite Psalms is 25, and it starts out with David upset about what is happening to him. Then it has a pause and he realizes, “Well, I’ve got a problem, because I’m a sinner, too, and I can’t only pray for deliverance from all these things that upset me and discourage me and make me anxious and distressed.” Then he remembers God’s mercy for himself, and he’s able to candidly bring to God his struggles, the things that make him anxious. He uses words like distress and anguish and trouble…

[And] we never get out of situations where we face things that distress us. The last enemy is yet to come. It’s no accident that Pilgrims Progress ends with the last enemy [death], and the crossing of that final river, and this provokes one last crisis of anxiety in Christians’s life…

This is a human dilemma. We’re in this together. So let’s start by naming what troubles us, and then let’s think through what is true about God. He is near. I can talk to Him. We aren’t alone. Anxiety and depression are very lonely experiences. [But] if we aren’t alone, that changes the experience…

God didn’t make us stones: So when distressing things happen to us, we feel distress. When frightening things happen, we feel fearful; when things are out of our control, we feel anxious; when things seem hopeless, we’re going to struggle.

But, there’s a God who wants to, and can, meet me exactly at that place of struggle.”

So, when I am depressed, or acutely aware of my inabilities; when I am frightened, or anxious, or hope-less; I don’t have to feel embarrassed. I don’t have to hide. I can, instead, be comforted and find hope, because my current experience will be a door through which grace — God’s never-ending, intentional, for-me grace — enters.

(Quotes from David Powlison in How to Care for Someone Battling Anxiety and Depression, an interview with Paul David Tripp. You can listen to the whole podcast here.)


About Jill

I'm a wife, mom to three beautiful children, and work as children's ministry director at Redeemer PCA in Athens, GA, a place our family treasures as our church home. It's been thirty years since the Lord saved me, and to this day I'm astounded at His steadfast love shed upon unfaithful me. My hope would be that I might speak and write in ways God would use to soften hearts toward Him, that we would together be enamored by the glorious beauty of Jesus and awakened to His love unimagined. Thanks so much for reading!
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