Where to find hope

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Depression, fear, anxiety and the Bible don’t really seem to go together, do they?

I mean, the Bible is supposed to be a book of hope, and depression and anxiety are very dark places, which we often don’t like to admit we suffer.

God’s Word is full of stories of people who underwent much anxiety, fear and depression. Since these struggles are part of the human experience, shouldn’t they be documented in God’s Word, the ultimate history book of human experience?

What makes the Bible so special is that it demonstrates God’s goodness and love over and over as He reached out to those who were struggling. Elijah was fearful and discouraged. Jonah was angry and wanted to run away. Job suffered great loss and physical illness. Jeremiah wrestled with loneliness and insecurity. Yet, each of these people, and so many others, learned great lessons during their dark times and grew in their faith. They were ultimately strengthened. They experienced God’s grace as he lovingly dealt with them.

David, one of the greatest Kings who ever lived, talks about his anxiety and depression in the book of the Psalms. His honesty with his own weaknesses gives hope to us who struggle today. He is quoted as saying these words: “My iniquities (guilty deeds) have gone over my head; like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me” (Psalms 38:4). He also said in Psalm 42:11, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.”

The first verse is reality. Our guilt, shame, fear, and difficult circumstances in life can overwhelm us. The second verse I shared with you, helps: Put your hope in God!

Changing how you think changes your perspective and your feelings, which in turn changes how you act. This is where the hope that God offers becomes important. He knows how you feel, and why you feel, the way you do. He loves you and wants you to come to Him with your baggage. Let Him carry it for you. “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). If you are looking for hope, look to the author of hope, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He is hope personified! He was hated and died and came to life again! He was rejected by His own creation; yet He became victorious in this life so that we can know victory in our darkest moments!

You are not alone; in fact the Lord Jesus Christ faced anxiety that was so great that He sweat drops of blood as he agonized over what would happen to Him at the cross. He hung on the cross alone, as He bore God’s judgment for our sins. He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:4). He was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief ” (Isaiah 53:3).

Forgiveness is another amazing solution for anxiety and depression! When we acknowledge our own guilt and shame before God and accept His forgiveness, He gives us the ability to forgive others who have wronged us. Our depression is very short and small compared to an eternity of joy and peace that God has prepared for those who have been forgiven through His Son’s work at the cross. Just the opposite awaits those who reject God’s offer of forgiveness; an eternity of judgment will be laid upon the soul who chose to carry his own guilt and shame.

Please come to God just as you are, acknowledging your weakness and need of a Saviour. Let Him pick you up, clean you up, and hold you through this storm-tossed life! He promises to never let you go! Jesus said, “in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

You can be an overcomer when anxiety, fear and depression come your way. You can be an overcomer through the Saviour. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

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