Depression: 1 in 5 people experiences depression, and 1 in 10 experiences a panic attack at some stage in his life. An estimated 121 million people worldwide suffer from depression. Studies show that 5.8% of men and 9.5% of women will experience a depressive episode in any given year. Suicide, sometimes the end result of depression, is the leading cause of violent deaths worldwide, accounting for 49.1% of all violent deaths compared with 18.6% in war and 31.3% by homicide. Murray, David– Christians Get Depressed Too.
This number is staggering–49.1%???
Pastor Timothy Keller, in his sermon entitled The Wounded Heart, makes the statement that if you do not have a living, vital, personal relationship with God, you are utterly alone in the world. He says that you may have friends, you may have counselors, you may have all the desires that this world has to offer, but unless you know God in a personal way, you are alone.
King David was a man who was not immune to depression. He was certainly not blameless, but the Bible calls him “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). He knew God, but he also knew heartache, pain, fear, remorse, and his own sinful heart.
So how is it that the apostle Paul could call David a man after God’s own heart? I believe it is because David, fearful & sinful though he was, knew how to commune with God in a real way. Look at what David prays to God in Psalm 13:
Light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death. (Psalm 13:3)
We may have friends, but we must have God. All the earthly kinship will do for a season, but there are times when their comfort runs its course. We are then left with a gap, a spiritual hole in our heart, that even friends cannot fill.
We must have Divine comfort. One word from God will quell all fears, thwart all burdens, comfort all distresses. One whisper of His voice emboldens even the most timid of souls.
Therefore, David seeks not a friend , but the Source of his life. He begs God to “light up my eyes”–this is almost a command from David to God as if David says, “God, you have got to give me light. You have got to open my spiritual eyes to actually see what is going on in the midst of this heartache. If you don’t, I am going to die!”
David says earlier in the Psalm (verse 2): How long must I take counsel in my soul? He seems to be saying here, “There is all of this internal self-talk running rampant throughout my heart. Not only is my enemy exalting over me, but my own inner voice is telling me loathsome things about what is coming around the bend.”
And David is honest with God about his condition and in a sense asks Him to silence all of the enemies to give him a word so that peace might return to his heart.
David was able to maintain hope because he wasn’t utterly alone in the world. He had this connection with the God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob, and he was able to say in utter confidence to close the Psalm:
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
I recently heard a story about a Christian lady in her 60s or 70s who always struggled mightily with fear. She was always afraid that the worst was going to happen to either her or her family, and she was constantly held the grip of terror.
Suddenly, the woman began experiencing some pain in her body, and she went to the doctor. The diagnosis was inoperable, terminal cancer, and her family gently confronted her with the news, expecting the worst.
The woman got up, and went into her bedroom alone.
Sometime later she came out of her room with an indescribable peace. Her family asked how she was doing and she said, “I went into my room terrified, but while I was in there God so comforted my heart and assured me of His love for me that I cannot be afraid.”
Several months later the woman died peacefully, and her family was amazed at the transformation God did in her life by delivering he from her greatest fears.
Do you know this kind of comfort?