Fighting for Joy when You are Depressed

Depression is debilitating. It is a crippling state that leaves you unwilling to function normally and, sometimes, not even caring that it is so. You may feel sad. You may feel angry. You may not feel at all. You may simply be numb. It may surprise you to know that the man who wrote the greatest poem exalting the beauties of the Word of God, Psalm 119, battled depression. So depressed was he that he said, “My soul clings to the dust” (v. 25), but just eight verses later he was able to shout, “I will run the course of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart” (v. 32). How did he get from laying in the dirt to running in the race?

I hope to encourage you by helping you see how he fought for his joy by working through depression. That, I believe, is the key. When you are depressed, you sometimes just want to sit and wait for it to go away, but it rarely resolves itself, unless it is simply a long nap that you need. The most difficult part of being depressed is that you must continue to live. But how? How do you go on with your life? How do you go to work tomorrow? How will you get out of bed? The answer is: you must begin to take small steps of action through the fog.

Open your Bible to Psalm 119. Read through verses 25-32 and wrestle through the following questions:

  1. How did the psalmist attempt to identify the cause(s) of his depression in verses 25-29? There are at least five steps taken.
  2. How did he decide to let God rehabilitate him (vv. 30-31)? There are at least two choices made.
  3. How would you describe this man’s consecration to, and faith in, the Lord (v. 32)?

If you find this exercise beneficial to you personally then you may want to share it with your small group. May the Lord restore to each of us the joy of His salvation (Ps 51:12)!

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