The Light in Depression

He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He put my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
Psalm 40:2, NLT

Depression is a clever tormentor. Each person’s struggle with this illness is different; some have it all the time, while for others it comes and goes.

Though we all experience it differently, we tend to share the same symptoms. Most of us have felt the condition drain us of motivation, taking the magic out of things we once loved, weakening us until we feel trapped at the bottom of a pit.

It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, or who you’re with; depression will find you. It doesn’t matter how much you have, because depression isn’t repelled by riches or poverty. No wonder it’s easy to feel hopeless, when it seems depression will always find you.

But there is good news: We have a Savior Who will also find us. Depression always seems to know where we are and what we’re doing, but so does God, and He is greater. He never loses sight of you, and even if sometimes you can’t feel His presence, know He’s right there fighting with you.

He reminds us of this relentless pursuit in these words from Scripture:

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
Psalm 139:7-10, NIV

But He isn’t finished there. Have you ever felt so covered in darkness that no one could find you and help you? Have you ever felt trapped in a shadowy place where no good thing could happen? In the very same Psalm, He continues,

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
Psalm 139:11-12, NIV

This doesn’t mean it’ll be easy. Depression makes it difficult to feel anything, God’s presence included. But know that He’s there with you during those nights when you can’t remember how to cry. He’s there in the midst of your anxiety, when you feel at your loneliest and don’t think this torment will end.

He’s lifting you out of the mud and mire. He’s wiping tears from your face, even when you can’t feel Him do it. And he knows you better than you know yourself—when your thoughts become irrational and you don’t know what’s bothering you, He does (Psalms 33:15, 38:9). When you feel alone in your struggle, remember He’s close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18).

One day you will wake up and realize He has plans for you (Psalm 40:5). He has always been your shelter (Psalm 39:7). You’ll experience the joy of one who trusts in Him (Psalm 34:5)—yes, joy.

On that day, sing songs of praise and thanksgiving—for He has always been there! Friend, remember this: Depression may be adept at finding you, but so is the Lord Jesus—and He doesn’t only find you. He loves you.

Courage, dear heart—you are not alone.