Coming Out of the Dark
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1, NIV).
Patience is not my greatest virtue. I do not like to wait – for anyone or anything - which is precisely why you should never get in line behind me at the grocery store. It doesn’t matter if there are two people or ten people in front of me, my line will invariably be the slowest line. I do not like to wait on God either … but was forced to do so when I found myself sitting at the bottom of a pit called clinical depression. I was empty and more tired than I had ever been in my life. I kept asking, “How did I get here?”
Depression is not an overnight phenomenon. I can honestly say that I don’t know a single person who has climbed out of bed in the morning and said, “Hmmm … I think I will jump into the pit of depression today.” Deliverance from that pit is usually not an overnight process either. It takes time and patience.
1. Wait. The psalmist simply says, “I waited.” Waiting is not passive. Waiting is meant to be a time of preparation, a time of rest and healing,
- To wait means to accept the pit. Isaiah 45:3 (NIV) “I will give you hidden treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”
Any time “LORD” is capitalized in Scripture, it means “Abba Father.” This verse indicates that our Father has gone before us and buried a treasure or stored a secret in every dark moment or painful circumstance. The only way we can find the treasure or learn the secret is to pass through that darkness. Some things cannot be learned in the light. To wait means to accept the pit, knowing it is for our good.
- To wait means to admit there is a problem. Isaiah 40:29 (NLT) “He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak.”
Emotional health begins at the point of emotional integrity with a willingness to say, “I need help!” As I shared in yesterday’s devotion, my husband was the pastor of a large church in South Florida when clinical depression overwhelmed my life. We could choose to be transparent and real, or we could sweep my struggle under the rug. We concluded that in order to be right, we had to be real. Dan and I shared my battle with the staff, the deacons, and then with the entire church. Yes, we took a risk, but we learned an important lesson in doing so. A shared load is a lighter load. We were created to need each other.
- To wait means to be still. Psalm 40:1 “I waited …” To wait means to hope in and look for someone or something who will rescue us.
So much about God can never be known on the run. I was so wrapped up in serving God that I had failed to be wrapped up in Him. During those two years in the pit, I not only gave up every role of leadership, there were many times when I could not even attend church because of panic attacks. God taught me an important truth. He is more concerned with who I am than what I do. No one can take my place in His heart.
- Be patient. It took twenty-two years for the McDonald's hamburger chain to make its first billion dollars. It took IBM forty-six years and Xerox sixty-three years to make their first billion. Harvey Mackay, in his book Swim with the Sharks, tells of an interview with the 88-year-old President of Japan's largest and most successful electrical enterprise. The interview went as follows:
Question: Mr. President, does your company have long-range goals?
Question: "How long are your long-range goals?"
Answer: "Two hundred and fifty years."
Question: "What do you need to carry them out?"
David said, “I waited patiently for the Lord.” The word “patiently” means “without tiring and with perseverance.” It took me many years to hit rock bottom. It took me two years to climb out of that pit, and I am still climbing. Yes, I still battle depression from time to time. Depression keeps me broken and on my face before God – and that is a good thing.
Depression may not be the problem you are facing, but at some point in life, we will all face some kind of pit. It may be a pit that we have dug with our own hands of wrong choices or it could be a pit that has been uniquely designed for us by the enemy. But a pit is a pit – a place of paralyzing fear and numbing doubt that is constantly fed by our human frailty and desperate attempts to escape the darkness.
The good news is that God is drawn to broken people. Psalm 40:1 says, “He turned to me.” Notice it does not say that David turned to God. Honestly, I doubt David had the strength to turn to God … so God turned to him. God heard the cry of David and he will hear yours. I don’t know if you are in a pit and need help or if someone you love is in that pit and needs your help, but one thing I do know is that the purpose of the pit is to purify and then to restore. Right now, surrender the broken pieces of your life to God. He can and will bring you out of the dark.
P.S. If you or someone you love is dealing with depression, I encourage you to check out these FREE resources on my website. My book, Hope in the Midst of Depression, is a practical guide for anyone dealing with depression and will help you learn how to:
- Change a negative thought life into positive, healthy thought patterns.
- Control and use the power of emotions to avoid erratic mood swings.
- Enjoy better relationships by establishing replenishing friendships and managing draining ones.
- Re-set priorities to have a more balanced life