Psalm 17:3 You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night.
Psalm 43:2-5 For you are God, my only safe haven. Why have you tossed me aside? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies? Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!
Today, I realized that I have been writing my devotionals for a year now. Yes, it was mid March of 2020 that I felt an overwhelming need to write daily words of encouragement. I wrote the words for myself, but I also hoped that the words would benefit others as well. As I reflect back on the past year, I remember many very dark nights. I personally laid in bed on many occasions longing for sleep that would not come, consumed with thoughts of COVID-19, patients, colleagues, friends, and family. There were questions that needed to be answered, and the answers still have not been found. I found myself doing as King David did and used those sleepless nights to cry out to my heavenly Father. It was only in Him that I found great relief. My nights of extreme darkness are but a shadow in comparison to the dark nights others have been enduring over the past year. I have never battled depression, but for goodness sakes, old COVID-19 sure tried to put me in the car, buckle me in, and drive me there. I do, however, know so many who battle with depression on a daily basis. Their nights are so dreadfully dark and lonely. If you are battling depression, my friend, I pray that these words encourage you. Though the nights be dark, we need not fear. Those dark nights are always followed by dawn. If you are in a dark night season of your life, look up. Dawn is coming.
I’ve had Christian friends doubt their faith because they battled with depression, but let me remind you that there are several well known Christian figures who have battled with depression. Do you remember Martin Luther? He was our protestant reformer from the 1600s who also suffered greatly from depression. He was a monk and a scholar who took quill in hand and penned the 95 theses that showed needed areas of reformation within the church. How did he survive the darkness of depression? He clung tightly to the Word of God and seized his faith.
Mother Teresa also endured many dark nights of depression. She is remembered for her work in the dying slums of Calcutta. She struggled with feelings of doubt and estrangement from God in her latter years. She went through a period of time in which she felt totally disconnected from God, and she was unable to feel His presence in her life. Her letters are recorded in a book entitled, “Come Be My Light.”
The great Charles Spurgeon also lived a life overshadowed with depression. He was a renowned preacher and expositor of the 19th century. It has been reported that his depression was so severe at times that he could not even get out of bed. Although he suffered greatly from depression, his faith in God and his ministry far outweighed the heavy weight of his depression. He once commented, “There is more in God to cheer you than in your circumstances to depress you.”
Luther, Mother Teresa, and Spurgeon made significant impact on this world for the good of the kingdom of God, but the thing we have to remember is that they were all human just like you and I. They had their faults. They had periods of anxiety and depression, but no matter how dark their nights were, they all knew that dawn would be coming. We can be assured that we will never have to endure a dark night alone. The darkest night can not steal the joy that our salvation has given us.
If you are walking through a dark season right now, hang on my friend. The dawn is coming. And while we wait for the dawn, we need not fear. We can praise God in the darkness because we know that dawn is coming! There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!