I cannot remember a time in recent memory what it felt like to wake up and not feel like at the bottom of that deep, ugly pit called clinical depression. The darkness has been an all too familiar companion for most of my life. Over the years, I tried just about everything to soothe the pain in my heart and mind – things like professional success, the approval of others, perfectionism, doing good things, exercise, diet, self motivation, and strengthening of faith.
It was December 2004 when the bottom fell out of my life and I’ve spent the last eleven long years in depression. I have spent many days attempting to describe this painful but healing journey that totally and completely changed who I am and what I have become. I go back to the place where it all began – to the place of complete brokenness – and remember the night when my life nearly ended. That night, a video my father had purchased was on. Needless to say, the video saved my life and looking back realized God was with me.
Depression may not be the problem you are facing, but the hard times will come and the darkness will find each one of us. At some point in life, we all will 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 though we each experience it differently. For me, it is a place of paralyzing fear and numbing doubt that is constantly fed by feelings of abandonment and desperate attempts to escape the darkness.
Evidently, I have forgotten some of the truths God taught me in the darkness. I have surrendered right priorities to the wrong plan and failed to hear God’s voice above all others. For some time I had forgotten God and the impact He has on my life. God has brought many people into my life offering advice and guidance. The best of these people are there when they see through my smile.
Identify your place, your pit. Why are you there? What has brought you there. A dear friend of mine is going through similar dark times and our story reminds me of that a man down by the river. There was once a man down by the river and one day a radio broadcast announced that flood waters were coming and that people should leave the town. The man, thinking of the broadcast, commented, “I am religious. I pray. God loves me. God will save me.”
The waters rose and most of the town flooded. The man continued to pile sandbags to protect his house when a man in a boat came by. “Hey you!,” stated the man in the boat, “You down there! Get in the boat, the town has flooded. Let me take you to safety!” The man looked at him saying, “I am religious. I pray. God loves me and He will save me.”
The next day the man was forced in seeking refugee on his roof. A helicopter came by and lowered a ladder down to him. “Hey you!,” the pilot shouted, “The town has flooded. Grab hold of the ladder and let me pull you to safety.” The man looked up, “I am religious. I pray. God loves me and He will save me!”
The man drowned and standing before the Gates of Saint Peter, he demanded an audience with God. Standing before Him, “God. I am religious. I prayed. I thought you loved me? Why did this happen?”
God said, “I sent you a news broadcast, a man in a boat, and a helicopter. What are you doing here?”
What has God sent you other than His son Jesus Christ?
Psalm 40:1-3 “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”