I have struggled with depression all of my adult life.
Word of actor and comedian Robin Williams’ death has dominated our attention. News of his suicide prompted the question, “How can a man who generated so much laughter be so distraught?”
I know the heaviness that accompanies depression.
I have felt lost in the overwhelming darkness of despair.
I have felt swept away by the waves of an oppressive sadness.
I have also known the provision of the Lord and his grace that sustains.
I share this as a personal call to care for and pray for the hurting people we encounter each and every day.
For years I mistakenly believed the lies of the enemy. He whispered, “You lack faith.” I sensed that I was a spiritual failure. Neither was true.
Depression is an illness.
An illness that is treatable.
My darkest days with depression began on the day Bill Clinton was elected to his first term as president. No, my condition was not related to that event, it just so happened to coincide with that day. A few days later a Christian doctor prescribed an antidepressant. I have taken medication daily ever since.
It does not alter my ability to function. I don’t feel “drugged up.” The medication simply provides artificially what my body struggles to produce on its own.
The death of Robin Williams has reminded me of two things:
1. To pray for the people I share life with. I am reminded of the need to tell people just how much they mean to me. To tell people that life is better because we walk together.
2. It is a tragic reminder that people need to know that our God is “an ever-present help in times of trouble,” that he provides “life, and life abundantly,” and that anyone who is “weary and heavy-laden” can find rest and comfort in him.
Would you join me in a renewed commitment to genuinely strive to connect with those living around us? Honest, genuine, connection with others as a community of Christ-followers? Will you agree to open your life to struggling people, to listen to their story without trying to “fix them,” and then accompanying them as a friend who cares?
I hope you will. And I hope you will be like the Disciple, Andrew, taking them to Jesus each and every day.