My spiritual mentor has recently been writing about the subject of depression. He has several confounding health problems but is always resolute about trusting God to care for us in all circumstances and regardless of circumstances. Apparently it was his dear wife who was struggling with a bout of depression (I could hardly blame a caregiver in her shoes).
My wife exchanged email with my mentor friend, agreeing with his analysis that depression finds its opportunity when we make a wrong choice, a sinful choice that goes against God’s direction in His Word.
We are just a week past Easter and memories of the Maundy Thursday service are still vivid in my mind. The reading of events that night as Jesus went out to the Garden of Gethsemane includes these candid words from him.
Mark 14:33. He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.
34. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them.
And he goes on to ask the Father to “take this cup from me.”
Maybe some would argue this is not a case of depression for Jesus, but it will do until one comes along. I’m not ready to say the emotions Jesus struggled with that night are due to any sin he yielded to. And he does wrap up his prayer by calling for God’s will to be done, not his own.
I am in the middle of writing a book length study of the Kindgom Parables that Jesus taught. I have just finished pondering the one in Luke 13:6-9 where the landowner calls for a barren fig tree to be cut down. A servant intervenes, offering to work another year on the tree to encourage it to bear the expected fruit for the owner.
Whatever other issues are present, this is one solution I think we can offer each other when the fruit of joy seems to have been displaced by sorrow. That real difficulties and pain cause real battles with fear should not surprise us. And we should not be surprised if we need an intercessor to stand by us.
Even Jesus hoped for as much, inviting his disciples into the Garden of Gethsemane with him that night. He expected their company could comfort him. It was a dark hour and he needed it.