Read Psalm 42:1-3
1 As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs for you,O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
the face of God?
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me continually,
“Where is your God?” (NRSV)
It has been said that depression is the common cold of the human emotions. It is widespread,and there is no quick cure for it. Many of the great Christian leaders we read about had bouts of depression. Studies show that present-day church leaders have a relatively high rate of depression in their numbers.
This may surprise us,given our leaders often present as bright and confident people who seem to have vibrant faith in God. But those afflicted with depression may not give any obvious indication of it,especially when ‘on duty’. To suffer depression is not to necessarily look mournful. Many weep tears but the crying may be on the inside.
We are well advised to avoid labelling depression as sin. We dare not oversimplify it either. Depression can come from a specific life situation,an hormonal imbalance,or a problem with neurotransmitters in the brain. Depression varies,but there seems a common factor of inner weariness and a threatening sense of hopelessness. A lack of passion,an inability to feel the deepest emotions.
We must not conclude that our Psalmist was suffering from depression,but he expresses some similar feelings as he states his longing for God allied to an inability to find him. The Christian journey is no picnic and we are not immune from this silent epidemic of depression. We can,however,cling to the reality of God who doesn’t leave us in dark places all alone. He understands when others do not. He lives in the shadows where others dare not or cannot go.