Saul called back, “Is that really you, my son David?” Then he began to cry. 1 Samuel 24:16, NLT
Do you ever feel that you are alone, isolated, and misunderstood? The strange thing about it is that when you experience such as this, you are prone to think that no one else has ever faced anything quite like the problem that faces you. Actually the very opposite is true. Countless thousands have walked the same lonely path. But when you tread the grapes of loneliness or depression, it seems that no one's valley has ever been deeper, or their sky any more filled with clouds than yours.
Depression touches almost everyone’s life at some time or another. When it takes you captive, you are at its mercy. It makes you crawl into a cave of gloom, not wanting to talk to friends, go shopping, or attend church, feeling that you are beyond God’s reach. It keeps you home from work, drives a wedge between you and your family, and, yes, can drive you to the point of absolute despair.
Vast numbers of people today need help but don’t get it. Why? Their symptoms are not recognized as depression. They are considered lazy or simply weak. (“Snap out of it!” is often bandied about as though the depressed person could). Others are so disabled they just can’t reach out for help. It is wrongly thought of as a spiritual problem (“Just get right with God,” spiritual leaders advise), or, yes, it’s recognized as a problem but there is a stigma attached so we avoid dealing with the issue.
If you recognize yourself in what I’ve just said, listen carefully.
First of all, realize that what you are going through is a part of life‑‑it is as much a part of life as birth and death itself. You can breathe easier when you come to the realization that countless millions have faced periods of doubt or depression. We sometimes feel this way after big decisions or big victories. If your depression has come as the result of a poor decision you have made, get help, talk to someone, and realize that God wasn’t left at the fork in the road. He’s alive and still our helper and strength.
It may be a troubled conscience that has left you depressed. You may have gone the wrong way. You knew what was right, but you did not do it. In that case, there is only one thing to do, and that is to do the right thing. Depression will begin to dissipate when you come to the place where you realize God is forgiving, concerned, and powerful, yes, powerful enough to help you regain your footing and move ahead.
Another thing that will help is to cling to the promises of God, marking them in your Bible, personalizing them, saying, “God is no respecter of persons, and my name is on that verse!” How about it? Have you discovered what the writer of Scriptures said, "The Lord is good; a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him" (Nahum 1:7 NKJV). A trust in the Lord becomes the silver lining to the cloud of depression and loneliness. it is the ray of sunlight that will take you through the darkest night.
The Apostle Paul faced periods of loneliness and discouragement, but through it all he had a sustaining trust in God. You can be as certain as Paul when he wrote, "We are troubled on every side yet not distressed..." How about you? Can you say, "I'm troubled yet not distressed?" Or do you find yourself at the end of your rope? Paul goes on, "persecuted but not forsaken, cast down but not destroyed... we faint because of these things, but though our outward man perishes, our inward man is renewed day by day" (2 Corinthians 4:8-9,16 KJV).
Resource reading: Daniel 6.