I have been experiencing one of the worst depressions since my treatment began over seven years ago. My motivation and interest level in activities I once enjoyed has been registering zero. I had been delighting in some very sweet quiet times with God and then this depression hit.
I like to give God my first fruits in the morning. I would do my quiet time first thing when I got out of bed. I am fresh, my mind hasn’t started racing yet (usually) and the house is silent and still. As a result of this depression, I have lacked the motivation to get out of bed early in the morning like I used to and spend time with my Heavenly Father. My energy is drained from working all day, so I don’t feel like doing the quiet time in the evening when I get home from work, either.
As the depression persists, I hold onto God with a white-knuckle grip one prayer at a time. Knowing that I am not alone in these dark hours is the only thing that gives me hope. I call out to God to give me the strength and energy to make it through the work day when I barely have enough energy to get out of bed. I call out to God to give me the peace to work with people when the depression makes my anxiety around people even more unbearable. I call out to God to give me the ability to concentrate when the depression is preventing me from focusing.
All during this time of my depression, God has proven His faithfulness to me. Even though I have been unfaithful to Him, He has never left me. He has given me the energy to make it through the work day and have enough gas in the tank to spend time with my husband. He helps me to have conversations with co-workers when I would usually run the other way. He gives me the concentration so I can do the difficult tasks that my job demands. His faithfulness to me during this time reminds me of the old hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness”:
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Words: Thomas O. Chisholm © 1923, Ren. 1951 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188. All rights Reserved. Used by permission.
The first stanza tells us what a loving God we serve. His ways about us and for us have always been the same, that of love and compassion. God will not decide tomorrow that He is tired of us and will stop loving us. He doesn’t turn, change or fail. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. This is comforting to me because I know I have not been faithful to Him. Even when the depression makes me hit the snooze button on the alarm clock in the morning instead of getting me up to do my quiet time, God is not going to turn from me and stop loving me.
I love the verse about the seasons and the sun, moon and stars. Just like we can count on having seasons every year without fail, the sun coming up every day and the moon and stars coming out at every night without humans having to do anything, we can count on God to be there for us, too. “As long as the earth exists, planting and harvesting, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never stop.” (Genesis 8:22) (GOD’S WORD Translation) I need the constancy of God in my life. Having bipolar, I do not know what mind I’m going to have when the alarm clock goes off; I might have to start fighting negative thoughts before I even get out of bed. With this depression I get spikes in energy but they do not last. Just like the seasons, God’s consistency is my Rock that I cling to when the road gets bumpy.
“Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide”. God has been my personal guide and cheerleader through this depression. I have never been alone. “Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow” is what I have been experiencing through God’s love these endless weeks of my depression. I do not have strength on my own. God gives me His strength. Since I am able to experience His strength today, I have hope that there will be a tomorrow and I will be able to survive to see tomorrow.
In the chorus, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” is repeated. I think the phrase is repeated to show emphasis and to get through to us that He is faithful beyond measure. “Morning by morning new mercies I see”. Truth from God’s word like this is what keeps me going in times of despair. I know I haven’t been faithful, but I know that every morning that I wake up, God will lavish me with new mercies. This is not because I deserve these mercies, it is because He is merciful.
I know that there is a light at the end of this dark depression tunnel and I will be able to rejoin Him one morning soon and spend my quiet time with Him. Until then, I will cling to Him and His faithfulness to love me during my depression and know that I am not by myself.