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Category Archives: Depression, self-worth

Paul’s Purposeful Praises

Many of us struggle, whether from health issues, emotional issues or mental issues. Some of us struggle with addictions and some with issues of being persecuted by family and strangers. And one of the ways we cope is by telling ourselves, “God doesn’t give me more than I can handle.”

Let me say that again, “God doesn’t give me more than I can handle.” Hmm, what a nice thought, however, it is biblically inaccurate. I am not saying that God doesn’t love you. Or that He doesn’t move supernaturally to help you, all I am saying is the statement above is inaccurate.

Many people from the Bible have had much more than they could handle on their own. People like Job and Paul. There where even times in the life of David, Daniel and Joseph that were filled with struggles. How about the lady that bled for 12 year and spend all her money on physicians, who at the passing of Jesus was delivered from her hopelessness. All of these people are prime examples of this saying being untrue. God loved all of these people.

I love what Paul tells Timothy when he says, “My persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.”
(2 Timothy 3:11)

I want to refer you to another chapter in scripture that illuminates Paul’s struggles. In Acts 14 while at Iconium and Antioch Paul was mistreated but escaped right before being stoned. (vs. 5) And if that was not enough the people from Antioch and Iconium followed Paul to Lystra and poisoned the Lystrian’s minds about Paul so much so that they stoned him and left him for dead.

People die from being stoned. Stephen died, the guy who cursed his parents from the Leviticus 24:23 died and the guy who was caught picking up sticks on the Sabbath from Numbers 15 also died. Yet Paul miraculously lived. He lived because he was divinely rescued.

I know that there are times (maybe you are in the midst of one right now) where your struggles seem to be bringing you to an end, lean into God. Wait on God. Isaiah 40:31 tells us that those who wait on the LORD will renew their strength.

David penned in Psalm 18 after being rescued from King Saul, ” The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalms 18:2

So now when we read pieces of scripture where Paul is boasting about his struggles like in 2 Corinthians 11. We can understand his joy or where his joy comes from. Like he states above it comes from his Rescuer.

I struggle with waiting, Abraham struggled with waiting. Job struggled with waiting. Loads of people struggle with waiting, but if we wait on the LORD he will renew our strength.

Prayer

ABBA, Father help me in my struggles. Your Word tells us that if we ask for wisdom, you will give it. So LORD please give me wisdom and patience to wait on you. I need you!

In Jesus Name, Amen

Depressingly, Depressed!

Last week, my blog was about the person with whom I believe is the poster boy from the Bible for Bi-Polar disorder. This week I would like to attempt to take the person that I believe is the best representative from the Bible that suffers from depression.

I have heard people refer to Jeremiah as the weeping prophet. We have read about the hard spots that Joseph continually found himself in; which could make anyone depressed. In the book of Job, he says that his afflictions lasted months [ (7:3, 29:2) and I can sympathize having myself suffered from pain for years and it is depressing.] In 2 Kings, King Zedekiah watched as his sons were killed and then his eyes were poked out. Can you imagine having that horrific sight stuck in your head until death? That has to be depressing.

However, when I think about depression there is one person that stands out more than the rest. Hannah! You know Samuel’s mom. We find her story in 1 Samuel 1-2. Hannah was barren and at that time not being able to have children was detrimental to life. If a wife outlived her husband and did not have children she was doomed. Without a son, she would be a beggar or bound for prostitution. That is why in the book of Ruth, Naomi said call me Mara (1:20).

Elkanah, Hannah’s husband also had another wife. A wife that bore him children and as if being barren was not enough, she also had to compete for her husband’s love. And all of these things I am sure brought her self esteem down into the mud.

The Mayo Clinic has a website that is pretty cool and on it is a list of the symptoms of depression. Let me state that if you feel that you suffer from depression you need to consult a doctor (if you have not already done so). Now here are a few of the symptoms that Hannah displayed.

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-image

One of the symptoms of depression is loss of appetite and we see this in 1 Samuel 1:5 when seeing that Elkanah would give her a double portion of the meat from his offering, and in lines 7 and 8, we see that her eating problems lasted for years.

Another symptom that Hannah displayed
was feelings of sadness and tearfulness. We see her crying in lines 7, 8, and 10.

We also know from lines 6 and 7 that Elkanah’s second wife, Peninnah would taunt Hannah year after year for being barren. Which I am sure made Hannah feel even more worthless and brought about even more frustration and more anxiety. Not to mention bringing up all the painful thoughts of past failures at conceiving a child.

Let’s face it Hannah is the poster girl from the Bible for depression. But in all of this God was faithful, and blessed Hannah with Samuel and then with three other sons and two daughters (2:21).

I am a man writing this and it is hard for me to completely wrap my head around what Hannah was going through. But what I can say is that I sympathize and empathize with it. I have had the awesome opportunity to pray with a couple going through this exact same thing. And it has changed the way I look at Hannah’s story

I know many people suffer from depression, so I am writing this in the hopes that seeing someone struggling with something that you struggle with from the bible will give you hope. God promises never to leave you and never to forsake you. His love is eternal!

Sources

Mayo Clinic website for depression

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