Updated: Jul 26, 2019
If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence. (Psalms 94:17)
Was this King David’s way of saying his soul soon would have dwelt in the clinical diagnosis of depression? Or was he communicating something much worst?
Mayo Clinic says that depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn't worth living.
They go on to say that it is more than just a bout of the blues, depression isn't a weakness and you can't simply "snap out" of it. Depression may require long-term treatment. But don't get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both.
The clinical world propagates four primary causes:
Biological differences. People with depression appear to have physical changes in their brains.
Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that likely play a role in depression.
Hormones. Changes in the body's balance of hormones may be involved in causing or triggering depression.
Inherited traits. Depression is more common in people whose blood relatives also have this condition.
While I agree that the sufferings of the human mind can affect the physiological function of the brain, I believe this diagnosis is worldly, natural and many times demonic in nature. Allow me to explain myself.
Throughout my entire life, I boasted in never struggling with depression – that is until I was diagnosed with heart failure. At which time my life imploded in on me at such a pace that my mind could not process what was happening to me. I was completely out of control. I went from a high energy achiever to not being able to walk to the refrigerator without being exhausted. I thought my life was over. I believed the Lord had reduced me to the ash pile of Job. I was without hope.
This despair pinned me to the couch day after day until I received a text from a dear friend, who was at the time, the Chancellor of Oxford Graduate School. His message was simple. “Call me.” It took every ounce of energy I had remaining to make that call. He said to me, “You are probably feeling that life is over, that your ministry has come to an end. You need to get-up, shake off the dust and reengage in your calling.” Honestly, those words were some of the more stupid I had heard. After I threw a plethora of excuses at him, he held his ground. He told me to go to my laptop, open a blog and, start writing. For whatever reason, after our phone call, I did exactly that.
To make a long story short, this admonishment changed the course of my life and ministry. My life is now dated before heart failure and after. You see, I wasn’t a writer. I was flying high on the peek of my efforts as a politician, speaker, discipler and being a public figure. I was so deeply entrenched in my success that I became a candidate for the Lord to reshape me by way of Him allowing the enemy to sift me, resulting in great despair. Such despair, it made me sick to think about the success I had achieved.
Even though the Lord has kept these waves of despair in place, I have remained faithful in His new form of outreach. My initial blog went from 15 subscribers to a number that raddles the cages of most internet onlookers. The testimonies of the Lord I have received after heart failure outweigh all those that led up to my physical and mental demise. Today our ministry is predominantly internet based due to this refined calling. Before my heart failure, it was mostly about me. After my heart failure, it is mostly about Him.
I often wonder what my life would have been like if I submitted to the diagnosis of “clinical depression,” taken their prescribed drugs and learned to cope with this “disease.” I cringe thinking about it.
What I am about to share with you might rock your world!
“Clinical Depression” has become a catch-all for forms of sadness that are connected to the human soul. If I wouldn't have learned the lessons embedded in despair, as a thinker, I probably would support this ideation.
If you carefully read the writings of King David, in our modern world, he certainly would be classified as “clinically depressed.” When he spoke of “the abode of silence,” I know today exactly what he was talking about.
We live in a demonically charged environment. If we look at the story of Job, we find some very interesting facts. This man from the land of Uz was blameless, upright and feared the Lord in all of his ways. Job was at the top of his game. He had a wonderful family, rich in farm life and owned more land than he knew what to do with. Then it happened. The destruction of decimation.
While Satan was minding his own business, the Lord suggested the unmentionable, “Have you considered My servant Job?” After Satan attempted to debate God over this possibility and the reality that the Lord had a “hedge” of protection about Job, God drops this hedge with conditions. Satan leaves the presence of God and goes about what he does best - he went on a killing spree. This permission-based destruction didn’t happen once but twice. Leaving Job in a pile of ashes. Most know of the magnitude of Job’s demise but few remember the sound doctrines embedded in his story.
It has been noted that 16% of self-proclaimed Christians find experiential solace and belief in the sovereignty of God. While most would say they believe in Him being a sovereign God, there are fewer yet that would rest in the reality that all things that happen in our world today are through the permission-based sifting allowed by God. In fact, most of the “Christian” world find an earthly and natural label to pin to the shirt of suffering mentally. The US National Library of Medicine has stated that there are 250 labels used in stigmatizing people with mental issues. Even they admit that these labels have done more harm than good.
I wonder how the sovereign God views these labels?
If the acute doctrines revealed in Job’s story are relevant today, which they are, we have a major crisis on our hands. Instead of running inwardly to the Life of Christ for their “medicine,” they are directed to set an appointment with a counselor to fill their heads with psychobabble. This self-help ideation almost always results in taking a pill to sedate the permission-based sifting of the Living God.
What is up with people sedating the sovereignty of God?
You look it up for yourself. Drugs, pharmakeia, is used three times in the Bible. Each reference reveals this Greek definition, medication, magic, sorcery, and witchcraft. Can you think of a better way for Satan to deceive God’s children? At the first sign of despair, sadness, or mental suffering, God’s children run off to perpetrate sorcery and witchcraft onto the Father’s plan to sift. I believe that is calling God evil. Dear Lord, how we have shamed your Name!
The basic facts are undeniable. God has always used Satan to sift His children. Remember when Peter was under such despair?
"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:31-32)
These are Jesus’s words. Whether we look at the Old Testament or the new, one primary fact remains – Satan always needs permission to sift. This results in a greater revelation. The sovereign God is the One who says “yes” or “no.”
I am going to make this as personal as I can. The Lord spoke to me through this passage in this manner. Stephen, Stephen, behold Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I am in you, that you may find rest inwardly in My indwelling. Always know that my mission is to reduce your dependence on yourself and turn you toward strengthening your brothers and sisters. Today, I am compelled to carry the burden of the Church!
As in the cases with Job and Peter, God was not interested in removing the sifting until pure wheat remained. He was not on a mission to remove the mental anguish. He simply wanted both men to remain faithful and put their focus on ministering to others. Out of the 42 chapters written on the distresses of Job, only one was dedicated to Satan’s involvement. The remaining chapters were filled with the sovereignty of God, resulting in Job’s conclusion.
“Then Job answered the LORD and said, "I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. 'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 'Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me.' I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You; therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:1-6)
For those of you who are NOT familiar with Job’s writings, God then goes on to rebuke Job’s counselors for their worldly advice. Once this was done, the Lord thy God restored Job’s fortunes and family legacy beyond what he had lost. I wonder how THIS story would have turned out if Job harkened to the advice of his worldly counselors or maybe sedated the sovereignty of God? Well, I know this, I wouldn’t be writing this article.
If you are suffering from sadness and despair, instead of medicating the sovereignty of God, it might be time to embrace it.
Interesting note. The man who helped me brush the dust off my life, Dr. Glenn Wagnor, he himself slipped into “depression” 2 years after his admonishment to me. This all resulted in the writing of the profound identity-focused book, “Fire In Your Bones.” You can listen to his story at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tv0lE7zwVk .
It is my prayer that all who suffer from despair join the multitude of believers in discovering how to ignite the Power of His indwelling in order to get, what Jeremiah called, “like a burning fire shut up in my bones.” (Jeremiah 20:9)