Church this morning was full of depression. Not so much the feeling of it, just the discussion of it.
Apparently David Brainerd, one of the most revered missionaries of the 18th century, often struggled with depression. More than 70 percent of pastors and their wives in America today experience at least intermittent depression. Certainly Christians of all stripes experience depression.
Shouldn’t Christians be joyful and excited about the grace given them through the gospel? Why does God allow misery among His people? I don’t have all the answers, and I can’t know why God allows His people to experience this pain on an individual basis, but I was encouraged by several answers that also came this morning:
- Our experience with pain and suffering deepens our understanding of what others are going through;
- We should use our depression and pain as fuel to seek God;
- God can teach us lessons that are best learned through pain and suffering.
Romans 8:28-29 says,
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son…
A friend pointed out a key phrase in this section that we sometimes miss. Most of us know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who believe in Christ.
But do we understand the purpose of the good that often comes from what seems like the bad?
Verse 29 gives the key: That we might “become conformed to the image of His Son.” God longs for us to be like His Son. And sometimes the best way to draw us closer to Him is to allow us to go through the valleys of life.
In our trials we are often more dependent on God because we need Him and His strength when we have none of our own left.
Sometimes we just want the pain to end.
It may or may not, but the question is, how do we respond to the pain? One of the best messages I’ve ever heard was from Holly Stratton, who said that we do one of three things with pain: We kill ourselves, we numb the pain, or we run to Jesus.
May we all run to Jesus.