Last night our church (Highpoint Church in Memphis, TN) hosted a worship night. It was a night of mostly music, but also guided prayers, Spirit-led revelations, and a few spontaneous baptisms. So yeah, it was an awesome night.
The guest speaker, Russ Parker, at one point invited the prayer team to be available at the foot of the stage to offer prayer to anyone who comes forward. Then Russ said something that gave me chills: “if anyone suffers from depression and your medication isn’t working, come down for prayer.” The request wasn’t thrown in the middle of a list of ailments. It was just that. Given that I had been feeling down for the past several days, had been wondering if my meds needed to be tweaked, and also understanding that the Holy Spirit told Russ to say it, I went down for prayer.
During the darkest period of my depression before I got treatment and began my recovery, I did not rely on God. It’s not that I intentionally disbelieved that God could heal me. I simply was so consumed with mental illness that I couldn’t maintain rational beliefs about God and His love for me; I believed I was worthless and couldn’t understand why God would care. In some regards my thoughts were understandable. I believed that my suicide was going to be a good thing for me and my family. My thoughts about God were equally illogical.
Since I began recovery my faith has strengthened and I have found greater hope through Jesus Christ. I recognize that God loves me, no matter what, not because of who I am, but because of who He is. And He gives me hope, strength, and the knowledge that I can overcome depression, that I am His valuable child, and that treatment works.
Going into the worship night last night I was not in the best place. I was frustrated more than anything else, frustrated that I can’t even control my own mind. It’s my brain, I should be able to tell it what to do and what not to do! Coupled with that was the desire to start using again… to find relief from the mental pain and frustration. But as I worshiped and sought prayer from an amazing prayer warrior, I felt a sense of peace. The comforting embrace of Jesus. Confidence to keep seeking freedom. Knowledge that God is bigger than depression.
I understand that it’s easy to not rely on God during the darkest moments of depression. Even if you can’t feel it, at least have knowledge of this: You have worth and value to God. You cannot be worthless, because you have worth to God. The Bible is full of stories of God loving society’s unlovables. He loves you, no matter what, and He has a plan for your healing, growth, freedom, and life past the pits of depression.