Four Sustaining Graces for Seasons of Depression

as featured at Servants of Grace
This article originally appeared on the Servants of Grace blog on September 11, 2019. Read the entire article at this link.
“Nights of watching and days of weeping have been mine,” Charles Spurgeon wrote, “ but I hope the cloud is passing.” These were the words of a Pastor “prostrate with depression,” written in a letter to his congregation in 1871.

Many of us know what it’s like to hope for the cloud of depression to pass. We can resonate with Pastor Spurgeon in this regard, acknowledging that perhaps the most challenging demand of despondency lies in the spiritual task of waiting. We cry to the Lord for relief, and then are made to watch and wait for it. We echo the complaint of the Psalmist: “How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:2)

It’s true, the experience of depression is exhausting—both physically and spiritually. We find ourselves desperately feeling around for a light switch that we may finally land our fingers on a toggle. But alas, there are no quick remedies for instantly illuminating our gloom—no switch to flip, no immediate assuage of our pain.

Is it any wonder then, that our appetite for the things of God becomes meager? Like a patient recovering from soul surgery, we only tolerate ice chips for the rehydration of our spirit. We require the tiniest morsels of daily bread because our bodies cannot take in a full spiritual feast. “My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, ‘Where is your God?’” (Psalm 42:3)

Yet, while depression is a season where our capabilities may be diminished, there are small sustaining graces to partake in which can carry us along while we wait. Zack Eswine writes, “the sad-ridden and gracious-held in Jesus often testify to us regarding the surprising nourishment given with a few bits of daily bread. Day by day the strength finds them and carries them, though they know not how or when the carrying came.”

In what remains of this article, I would like to offer four simple sustaining graces we can partake of while waiting for seasons of depression to lift: 
Depression will require we take courage and wait upon the Lord, but there are sustaining graces to be had—and sometimes, even enjoyed—until the joy of salvation becomes restored.
Four Sustaining Graces for Seasons of Depression
Christine M. Chappell
Christine Chappell is the author of Clean Home, Messy Heart, the host of The Hope + Help Project podcast, and is a guest contributor at Desiring God. She writes frequently about suffering, struggling, and sorrow at her blog, has completed biblical counseling certificates with the Institute for Biblical Counseling & Discipleship, and is currently pursuing certification with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.
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