Why? When? Where? by Julie Thomas

How did you wake up this morning? Feeling sad? Or empty? Or weak?

If you struggle with depression, you probably woke up feeling sad, or empty or weak. Or possibly all of those! Do you wake up in fear?

For over 5 years of my life, I lived in fear and despair. Woke up in fear. Went to bed dreading the dawn of day. How much sadness and fear can one live with? You would probably concur with me when I say…many! Many days passed where fear was my escort. Every day, I woke up with a knot in my stomach.

Could you imagine every minute of your life in the anticipation that something dreadful is about to happen. How could one live with constantly watching for the arrival of a dreadful event? This was another one of the reflexes of a depression.

Several times I thought to myself, “I cannot help feeling this way.” And, this feeling is and was real! I did not lock myself up in a thinking lab and conjure up a chemical prescription to adopt fear. I tried, time and time again to convince myself of the contrary…”I don’t have to be sad. I don’t have to be afraid.” Sadly, I failed, time and time again.

I saw no reprieve for today and no hope for tomorrow. That is a hard place to be. Depression can do that to you. Bring you to the point of utter hopelessness. I prayed every day for this feeling to pass. Sometimes, I was too afraid to hope. What if I didn’t get my answers tomorrow? What if the sadness continues and there is no end to this depressed state of mind?

I know these are a lot of questions. But, when we struggle with depression, we wake up to questions every day. Questions that question our healing, that question our hope. And most important, of all the questions we ask ourselves, ‘Why?’

Doctors sometimes can’t answer our ‘why.’ Family and friends can’t seem to answer our ‘why.’ We may ‘never’ find the answers to our ‘why.’ And every single minute we spend pursuing the answer to the ‘why’ is a minute unredeemable. One thing I’ve gathered over the lifespan of my depression battle is we don’t need, the answers to our ‘why.’ We don’t need to know ‘when’ – When, our answers will come. What we can do, is redeem our today.

But, when things seem hopeless? How can we? There may be many alternate ways toward this. But, the answers to all our “why’s” and “when’s” can be found in one place and that is the word of God. I know that I know, that the reason I exist today is the redeeming power of the Word. The numbing effects of a depressed mind, took it’s toll on my body making me too weak to even speak somedays. On those days, with weak trembling hands, I would write, write scripture down.  Here’s what Habbakuk says,

“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty.”  Habakkuk 3:17 NLT

Does your life seem like it’s failing and empty? The prophet posed many questions to God too. The book is essentially a question-answer dialogue between Habbakuk and God. At the end of all his questioning, Habbakuk comes to one conclusion. He realized ‘where’ his answer could be found. Everything before him was empty and hopeless, but he says “yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

Now if you are like me, this may seem like what I call a “cliche” verse to you. You’ll probably think that this verse has been done over and over. It has plateaued. Right? I was told many times to speak scripture over my struggle. And, that would upset me even more. I thought people made this suggestion only to sound more spiritual themselves.

Here’s something I’ve learned. It is not in the struggling to struggle with the Word that we find hope. It is in knowing that your struggle is safe in the hands of the one who is capable of dangling the entire universe at the tip of His finger, like a Christmas ornament. It is not in struggling against the feebleness of your power. It is in placing your struggle on the invincible power of your God.

He will make you as “sure footed as a deer.” Give you feet that will enable you to tread the heights. The heights of suffering. The heights of sadness. The heights of depression. As painful as it is, I encourage you. Climb that height.

Don’t let fear stupefy you or keep you paralyzed in your misery. God is your “personal bravery” and He will enable you to stand on the heights of depression. You will stand on top of it, not be overcome by it. You will plant your stake in the ground, on those heights, and wave your victory flag. Declare your deliverance atop those heights. So that others that are staring up the presumably unconquerable heights of depression, will know – someone made it up there. So can I!

I hope and pray that every one of your ‘Whys’, ‘Whens’, ‘Wheres’ and ‘Whats’ find their answers in the Word.

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