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Where to Find Light in the Midst of Depression and Dark Places
Posted on Mar 21, 2019 Topic : Women's Christian Living
Posted by : Melissa Maimone
Some mornings, before I even open my eyes, I feel a sadness weighing on my chest. I wake up to the morning sun, but I all I feel is darkness. There are days when depression surrounds me before I’ve had my first cup of coffee.
I love Jesus. I love my life. And yet, I‘ve struggled with depression for decades. Though I trust the Lord, the peace that surpasses understanding sometimes eludes me. When depression sweeps in, it feels like Midnight is descending upon my soul. For a long time, I was deeply ashamed of this aspect of my life. I begged God to eliminate it.
The apostle Paul asked the Lord to do the same with his pain. God responded, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV). In other words, the answer was, “No Paul, I will not take it away. I’ve got this and you’ve got Me. That is enough.”
Like Paul, I asked the Lord to abolish this painful thorn buried deep in my flesh. So far, He hasn’t. This caused me to wonder: if my depression has been permitted by the God who loves me completely, then perhaps my focus on removing it distracts me from why He left it there in the first place. So, rather than forever pleading with Him to expel the dark places, I’ve asked Him to sit with me in them.
Through trial and error, panic and faith, tears and blessing, I’ve learned to embrace the things I wanted the Lord to remove most. I’ve learned about His enduring grace more than I could have imagined. And I’ve come to believe that God offers important, miraculous gifts wrapped in a ribbon of things we often don’t want.
You may not struggle with depression; but if you’ve been living this life for a while, you have your own story of suffering. Perhaps you’ve asked the Lord to remove your pain and so far, He has not. I know how hard that is. But our gracious God reveals His gentle presence in the midst of terrible sorrow. And where He is, hope lives. Especially in dark places.
We have a God who brings beauty from ashes, life from dry bones, and resurrection from the grave. He has fearfully and wonderfully created the complex nature of our soul. He is always renewing, always redeeming, always recreating. And if He does those things, then it stands to reason that our pain, our circumstances, our tears will not be left untouched or unchanged by His grace, even if they are never fully removed.
Depression is still part of my life. I still don’t like it and it’s still hard. But Jesus isn’t afraid of the dark; even when we are. He is with us in it. In His care, even the Midnight can be radiant.