There is a great persecution that has overwhelmed and perplexed many well-intentioned people through history. It is not so much a persecution of people against people, though it occasionally takes place like that. This persecution is a persecution of the mind, of the heart, to the portents of the soul. This persecution has afflicted many of the greatest Biblical characters, including Moses, Elijah, Jonah, and Jeremiah, and more.
Understanding the method of this persecution is important in understanding how we can overcome it. Let us centre ourselves, now, in this grandest (so far as depression is concerned) of Jesus’ truth:
“In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”
— John 16:33b (NRSV).
Depression is so vast a topic we cannot do justice to it in such a small piece as this. Bearing serious limitations in mind, we do well to never underestimate the size and variation and manifestation of this persecution.
We can understand, in some ways truthfully, that this persecution of depression is brought about by a persecutor. This enemy of our souls will afflict us, and most people who have grown through spiritual transformation have been so afflicted.
Now, the problem in depression as a persecution is very much aligned to the solution.
This way, God conquers the devil.
Approaching the Understanding of God
What the enemy doesn’t factor in, in our persecution manifest via depression, is, within our struggles, God is ever nearer.
The Gospel beauty is sustained in the fact:
The more we are defeated in our own strength, the more likely we become broken enough to depend on God’s strength alone.
Approaching the understanding of God is vital in understanding the nemesis of depression. Approaching the understanding of God is also vital in coming to believe our Saviour has already overcome for us. Approaching the understanding of God is accepting these truths and committing to instituting them within our belief structure. Then, the slow passage of improved spirituality and wellbeing begins and continues to take place.
How Are We to Overcome?
This is the inevitable question: how are we to overcome?
The answer is either elusive or obvious. It’s only elusive when we continue solely or still partially in our own strength. We will continue to wrestle with depression and it will exhaust us. But the answer is seen as obvious when we don’t so much wrestle with depression, but we learn to rest, within the momentary peace-filled capacities God has given us.
We don’t fight something we can’t beat, but we allow God to fight something Jesus has already beaten.
How are we to overcome? We don’t. God has overcome for us. And the Holy Spirit will overcome our persecutions for us today, if we let him, through our obedient surrender.
When God is our god, we understand such a persecution can ultimately be conquered, but only through our surrendered obedience to rest in the Lord.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.