Come quickly, LORD, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don't turn away from me, or I will die. Psalm 143:7 NLT
David, the man after God's own heart, knew depression. Many of his psalms speak of it and his anxiety...and we thought this was a disease of the modern age. Hardly, God's word was prepared for and ready for us long before we saw the stirrings of mental illness in the world around us and later found that - ah! no - we are not better than the heathens next door. Like David, many a follower of Christ has felt the pain of depression, endured the hurt of anxiety, or felt the clinging fear of post traumatic stress. Truly we can be witnesses to Christ in one of the darkest corners of this earth, that depressed corner called the human mind.
I'm not glad that David had to suffer these things in his life, and yet I feel a kinship with this man who endured depression a thousand years before Christ was born. The very man whom Samuel anointed king of Israel; a man who knew the anointing of the Spirit of God within him from that point forward. From David's example we can know that mental illness does not disqualify any of us from the Lord's service. The Holy Spirit who knew the pain David endured, remains faithful in all those who have been reborn in Christ and yet suffer the pain of illness both mental and physical. Like Job, we are not rejected by the circumstance, for God cannot be anything but who He is: faithful, loving, good, and, yes, just.
That thing you endure? Probably not a punishment, but rather a way for God to show His enduring faithfulness. David turned it around with a prayer to the Lord, "May Your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing." (143:10b)Amen!