A Guest Post by: Isaiah41v10
I grew up as a missionary kid in a country in Asia where we could swim most of the year. We were blessed to have a swimming pool at our house. It wasn’t very big and it wasn’t very deep, and it was strongly chlorinated, but it was a great place to spend the afternoon when the temperature was climbing into the 40’s (Celsius of course).
One of the things we enjoyed doing in the pool when we had a group of friends over was getting a whirlpool going. Together we marched around the inside edge of the pool, all going in the same direction, until we had set a strong current swirling. We would be carried along by our own current, around and around.
At some point we would decide to go in the opposite direction. We all struggled to stop in the strong current, turn ourselves and work against the flow to get the current going the other way. The water in the pool churned with the conflict of opposing currents. Eventually everything was moving in the opposite direction and we were carried along as before, but going the other way.
I was reminded of this episode from my past recently, when considering my response to depression. I have experienced many episodes of depression, and have recently been overwhelmed by it again. I started to realise that I needed to change my thinking and my response to the negative thoughts, but had very little will to do so. It was almost like I wanted to remain in that current of negativity and despair. There was a current in my mind that was pushing strongly one way, and when I tried to change direction my self-made current acted against me.
Psalm 42 in the Bible points the way forward in this situation. The psalmist is downcast and miserable, “My tears have been my food day and night”, but he tells himself to remember God:
My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
It may not change how we feel in that moment, but somehow we can start to change the current of our thoughts, trusting in God’s ability to preserve us.
Recently John Piper had an article about depression on the Desiring God website. He wrote there about enduring depression with patience,
“Acknowledge that only divine power, and I mean mighty power, can sustain you and me through the tests like this.”
We need the power of God to change our thinking and reverse the negative currents in our minds.