The Darkness of Depression
Creating, re-creating Spirit, I ask for transforming work in my life. Make me more like Jesus.
Read Psalm 88:1-18
 A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah. For the director of music. According to
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Almost everyone, at one time or another, experiences a period of sadness. Most people get over it with a little time. But for some people, the sadness continues.
I have been very fortunate in that depression has not been a major problem for me, but I have known times when, for various reasons, I have made this psalm my own prayer with deep feeling. For some people terrible things do happen, and for others it feels as if everything has gone wrong and everyone has deserted them. Whether this psalmist really did suffer as many things as the psalm implies or depression made it seem that way is irrelevant. This is what it felt like, and the sense of desertion was real. Long-term illness, desertion, complete aloneness–the psalmist felt so bad that “darkness,” which of course was no friend at all, was seen as the closest friend available (18).
We may think that this psalm might add to someone’s depression rather than relieve it, and we may want to point them to another psalm that is much more positive and hopeful. But I have found it hugely beneficial, and I know others have too, to know that someone else has felt how we felt and given us the words to express it. The fact that God has chosen to include the psalm and others like it as part of his Word reassures us that it is OK to feel like this and to speak like this!
This psalmist feels deserted by God as well as by everyone else, but he also points us to the way out. God is blamed, but nevertheless it is God who is turned to in the hour of despair. We are reminded that God is the One who saves us and hears us–even at the point when we can see or sense no answer. It is good to express exactly how we feel–but express it to God himself.
Why do you think this psalm is included in the Psalter? Are there any answers here to sadness and depression? How and where can you find comfort in the midst of sadness and depression?
Father, I ask for sensitivity towards those who may be struggling with depression. Give me insight into any areas of my life that might be contributing to my own struggles.