Seventeen million people every single year are diagnosed with depression in the United States. Seventeen million people every single year. Depression is a very broad category, but that does not include social anxiety, that does not include bipolar disorder. That doesn't include postpartum depression, that doesn't include seasonal depression, that is just chronic depression, 17 million. Five percent of the entire United States population deals with seasonal depression twice a year. Every single year at the very tail end of fall into winter and right around March of every single year, five percent of the entire population has a biological reaction to weather and debates on if it's worth living life. Women are twice as likely to be depressed than men. And the onset of depression, or at least the average onset of depression for anybody is right around 32 years old. Some people can be depressed earlier, and that's why there's an average, right? Usually it starts somewhere between 18 years old or so when social pressure comes and there's dissonance in the family, in the home and and there's a lot of trauma that comes up. And then some people are diagnosed later in life. But right around that thirty-two year old age range is right when people begin to realize what is actually happening and they actually get diagnosed with this. But the saddest thing about all of these statistics is that only 20 percent of every person who is, you know, diagnosed with this disease, only 20 percent of those people actually seek any sort of professional help. Think about that. A legitimate physiological disease, illness. Only 20 percent of people seek professional help. Counselors, medical doctors, treatment centers, 20 percent. Which we now know (because of sociological research) is the reason why suicide rates are higher than they've ever been before. It's because people are getting untreated or they're being treated inappropriately. They're being given drugs that actually aren't helping them or they are helping. But then there's massive side effects to that. That's the reason why alcohol addiction and drug addiction is at its highest. It's because people are trying to find ways to remedy the dissonance they feel in their life and they don't have a solution. And culturally, depression is still a little bit of a taboo. And so they don't know where to go. Twenty percent of people actually pursue any health.


Depression is real friends, it's real. And what's so encouraging to me is that, not only does the Bible talk about it. But the writers of the Bible actually experienced it. I think the writers of the Bible, in particular the Psalms, struggled with depression, with anxiety, with this dissonant feeling of their brain and their soul that feels at war. Now, the thing that's interesting is, is that they never really use the same language that we use. Right? Because we have books that tell us how to describe things. But they all felt that dark night of the soul that so many of us have felt. They all questioned in many ways, "why live? Why fight? Why even believe in a God who seems to be so distant? Why is it worth it?" They questioned those things. To me, friends, that is so encouraging. It's sad because I think many of you are like "what? The Bible talks about that?" And it's like, yeah, unfortunately, the church just doesn't. The Bible is full of examples of what I just described, and today in Psalm 42, we're going to be jumping into a story, a song where the author is not only feeling depression -- and it's both spiritual depression and physiological depression. We'll talk about the differences as we study it. But in the midst of this psalm, they actually take steps towards dependency on God. That doesn't fix the problem, but it's like a tool kit. The author actually gives us some things to have in our back pocket when things come up. And so... I think it'll be really good when we jump into this, but I want you guys to be honest as we read this, because you may resonate with this passage more than you're willing to admit.So depression and our dependence on God. Let's begin reading in verse or chapter 42, starting in verse one. Chapter 42. Starting in verse one. You'll notice that there's this crying out that the author does as the deer pants for the streams of water. You could go back past that, even go right to verse one. "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God." Now I want to stop there for just a moment. If you have grown up in the church at all, that phrase, that one little sentence has been completely misconstrued. That phrase, I bet you anything, as I was reading that you have heard that before, right? Like in songs and in and like in Mardell's coffee cups and all these things, like "as the deer pants for water, my soul longs for you." And we try to make it an emotive, like a romantic statement on behalf of the author to God. Right? The problem with that is that that is not the context of the rest of the song at all. When the author says "as the deer pants for streams of water, my Soul pants for you, my God, what he is actually saying in that moment is I am so deeply empty, God, and I'm crying out for you almost as if I haven't had anything to drink in months and then see. There is no romanticizing the desperation this individual feels. This is the main thrust of the whole passage itself, I am empty and I need you. Crying out for you. Verse 2: "My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When can I go and meet with him? My tears have been my food day and night while people say to me all day long: "Where is your God?" There's a mocking even happening in the midst of his desperation. "These things I remember as I pour out my soul. How I used to go to the House of God under the protection of the mighty one, with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. Why my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?" "Put your hope in God," he's telling himself, "for I will yet praise him, my savior and my God, my soul is downcast within me. Therefore, I will remember you from the land of Jordan, the heights of Hermon in the Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roars of your waterfalls and all of your waves and breakers have swept over me." That's a poetic way of saying "I will remember how great and marvelous and glorious you are and the land that you have called home. This place of Jerusalem, this place of Zion, this place of beauty. And yet in my life, God, the waters underneath seemed to be crying out to each other deep, calling out to deep. And in that moment when they burst forth, it feels like you washed over me with destructive waters." Did you see how he said that? "And your waves and breakers have swept over me"? The author is saying, "It seems as if you are just going about your business, God, and you have left me in the dust, you're washing over me." "By day, the Lord directs his love, and at night his song is within me, or is with me. A prayer to the God of my life, I say to my rock, God, my rock," verse nine, "why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy, my bones suffer a mortal agony, as my foes taught me, saying to me all day long, 'Where is your God?' Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God and for yet or for I will yet praise him, my savior and my God." Psalm 42.


You know, one of the most one of the greatest misconceptions about depression and anxiety and any real mental illness is that you either have it or you don't have it. This actual misconception is not true at all, and the way that it looks from our perspective from an average person, is that there's no such thing as a -- it's not a paradigm. Let me let me think of the word here. There's no such thing as a spectrum between what depression is and what it's it's not. And the way that that looks is that whenever we think about someone who is struggling with depression, the question is, are you depressed or are you not depressed? Right. We want to know, is it a thing or is it not a thing, are you struggling with depression or are you not? Or are you starting with anxiety and social anxiety? Are you not? Are you living a life of purpose? And you feel like that's worth waking up for and worth doing or not? We have this very strange thing, and especially in the evangelical subculture, what we do is when we don't understand something, we try to make it as clear as possible, black and white as possible, because the grace seems awkward enough and we don't know how to approach it. And so we polarize it because then we at least know what to do with the two different things. This is literally just what we do with anything in general, and depression and anxiety is actually no different at all, you have the both sides of it. And the reason why we do this is because we can actually at least engage when it seems like there are opposite ends of the spectrum. If someone is not depressed, then we can engage with them like we do, we can be friends with them, we spend time with them. We don't feel like we have to walk on eggshells around them. We don't have to worry if we're going to trigger them, potentially. We can just be with them. Right. This is what we love. This is what we love to participate in.


And yet what is so fascinating is that when the pendulum swings and it doesn't go through the spectrum, but it goes to the complete opposite side of it, and someone is depressed, someone does get diagnosed, someone does have a moment. Someone does crash and burn. Whatever it may be we actually are okay with that because we're like, "well, I can I can help." Right? "But let's rally around this person. Let's help us give them help. Let's let's facilitate care for them." We approach it as if it's like a thing that's like, "OK, we've got to go do this and we've got to do this and we've got to do this." And let's just go around the whole entire circumstance. So this weird tendency and we do this with so much more than just depression. What's so fascinating is that we are utterly terrified. We have no idea what to do with the middle. We don't know. Because as a society and as a church and as a culture, we just don't know when the ambiguity of the spectrum starts to show up. Because we think, well, if you're good, you're good, and if you're not good, I'll help you get good. That's not how it works. The gray. Like, it comes out and these are examples, but...the grace shows up. When that mom has a first kid and her first year, her first year, the kid just cries. Oh, right, and you're just like, "Okay well, as a Mom, you know, it's like, you know, you're tired and so, you know, being tired equates to then not really wanting to get up in the morning." And it kind of feels like you don't really know what you're doing with your life. And then there's the mom guilt that comes whenever you leave the house. And then and then there's the weird mom guilt that comes when you look at all the other moms fake Instagram posts about how great their life is. Right. And they actually wear makeup and you're like "you just put that on just for that post. And I know it." And then a year goes by and their kid is not crying every day and their kid... they have freedom back and they feel like life is normal. But they're not normal. The gray is like that. What do we do as a church? We usually just are like, well. "I'll watch your kid," you know, and "you're a great mom." And we don't know what to do. The gray is when that middle aged, individual friend, family member, brother, sister all of a sudden gets diagnosed with bipolar disease and the doctor asks them, "hey, have you ever noticed that your entire life, you're either really high or really low, like all the time, there's no middle ground? And when you're high, like you're just like you're you're like adrenaline is jacked. And you used to sleep three hours a night and you're just on. But then when you crash, no one can even get a hold of you for weeks at a time?" "Oh yeah. It's really weird. I always just thought I was emotional." No. Bipolar. And then they don't even know what the next steps are because their doctor isn't quite ready to talk to them about medicine and they haven't gone to a treatment center and... and that. What do you do with that? That's hard. The gray, friends, is this weird world. It's this in-between in the distance. Like this struggle that's going on; we don't know what to do. I think I think the most common one, obviously, from statistics is seasonal depression. I think it's so fascinating that almost every single year there are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people, even in our own city, that wake up about October 19th and something's wrong. And then they they don't want to talk about it and they don't know who to talk about it with, and they kind of feel a little dumb for even feeling it. And they go, "all I want is summer," and then people rag on him and are all, you know," why don't you love the fall?" and you're just like "it has nothing to do with scarves. It has everything to do with my own and my own sanity." I wake up and all I want to do is go back to sleep. And I don't know what's wrong with me. That's a weird world to be in. And what's really beautiful about this passage that we just read is that it describes that world. I describe it in two different ways. The author talks about spiritual depression and the spiritual gray that comes with that and physiological depression. I don't know if you noticed it as I read it, but there are different stanzas. And if you actually had a physical Bible, you'd notice that there are different sections that are kind of orchestrated together because these were meant to be sung in rhythm and in song. And what's interesting is that the author is experiencing what every single person in this room, if you have a relationship with Jesus in your allegiance, is to him. We've all experienced some of the things that he describes. It's this "God, I know you're good and I know you're faithful, but, oh, how I long for you in a way that almost doesn't seem to make sense." And he never confesses his sins, he never says that he's sinful, he never portrays himself as wrong in the circumstance because that's usually our default, right. Like, if I feel some distance between me and God, it's obviously my fault. But he doesn't do that. All he's doing is just saying, "I just feel like something's wrong here and I miss you, God, and I'm doing everything I can to experience you. Why have you forgotten me?" Every one of us has had that, guys. Jesus had that on the cross. "Why have you forsaken me, oh God?" As he was taking the sins of the world upon himself. Is the spiritual depression that takes place and it's still funny, like, as you may ask yourself the question, "why is this text in the Bible?" Because if it's only applicable to people who actually deal with depression, I'm not someone who feels depressed. But what I just described. You're like, oh, I felt that before. Yeah. Dissonance, the gray. It's a real deal thing, spiritual depression. But the other thing that he describes is not spiritual depression. It is physiological depression.This author cries out saying there's something at war within me. God not warring with you, I'm warring with myself and myself, and I don't know who's going to win because I don't even think I'm a part of either of the battles. For some reason and guys, this is like if you struggle with depression, I'm describing it to you, the reason why? Because I live it. There's a war happening and you feel like a third party person where chaos is ensuing and you're going, "how does this stop?" And the way that he describes it is: "why are you so downcast, oh my soul?" He has the cognitive ability to understand something is wrong at a deeper level than just what his brain is telling him. Something inside of me, the depths of my being is downcast. Why? Why are you so downcast? I have dear friends who ask this almost every night. Why is this happening? I do everything that I think I should do, and yet I feel this is physiological depression. The author explains the entire feeling in this text over, and over, and over again, and in the midst of it, the whole purpose of this psalm is not merely for you guys to go, "oh, someone gets me," although that is good. That is a good feeling to have. It is really good to know. That other people felt this inspired by God, people felt this. But you still got to ask the question like: "what am I to do with this?" Right? And that's where the toolbox, so to speak, comes into play, the dependency piece comes into play in the song. The author actually gives us three different things we are to do to the headline God in the midst of our depression. And I want you to write these down, not because once you do them, it will fix the problem tomorrow. That's not what this passage said, I don't know what Bible you're reading, but it never ends. He doesn't say put your hope in God and yet I will praise him, my savior and my God. And everything is fixed. That's not how it works, that's not how depression works, that's not how disease works. God can in a moment intercede and do a miracle. And we pray for that and we ask for that and we believe in that. We have a healing service coming up in two weeks specifically so we can pray for those things on your behalf. But the reality is, tomorrow will come, next week will come, and you need tools. You need next steps and so friends, as we go through these three pieces, I want to ask you this. If you have depression, if you have bipolar disorder, if you have anxiety, whatever it may be, do these on a regular basis, even if you don't feel it. And if you are friends and family, if you have a friend and family member who has it and this is not your struggle, implement this on their behalf. Because they will often forget. Be this person to them.


First one is this: in the midst of your depression, the way that you can depend on God is to remind yourself of what you truly need, not what you think you need, but what you truly need.

I want you to look at verses one and four again. Verse one: "as the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God." Verse four: "these things I remember as I pour out my soul, my empty soul that has almost nothing left," here's what I'm going to pour out: "how I used to go to the House of God under the protection of the mighty one, with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng." You know what one of the hardest things for someone to do when they're in the midst of a dark cloud season. When the hardest struggles for somebody in the midst of depression and anxiety is for them to be reminded of what they actually need in that moment. What they actually need in that season. And it's and it's simple because as the author says, "what I need is you, God." They have a very wise perspective. What I need right now, the emptiness I feel, the brokenness I feel, this longing is I truly need you because you're the miracle worker. You're the savior. You're the healer, you're the counselor. You're everything. And I need you. But what we're reading is wisdom literature. We're reading something that someone thought through for a long time with the divine inspiration of God behind it. But most of us, guys, in the midst of all the stuff going on in our life when we can't see a foot in front of us because the clouds seem so thick. We often assume that what we need is something that revokes the trigger from our life. So people who struggle with depression, they have triggers, there are certain things they could be the most obscure thing in the world, they may be something they have no idea about. And what they see, what happens is, they're living their life and they're kind of at a plateau and they're doing things. They're not high, they're not really low, but they're just kind of there. They're stative. And they want to be high because they feel like that's where everybody else is. And then they feel bad that they're not high. But they're just here. And what happens is all of a sudden something happens in their life. And that trigger makes them crash. That trigger could be something as simple as coming home to an empty home. And then all of a sudden that triggers in them these lies and these beliefs that I am unworthy, I have no friends, I have no one to be around, no one cares about me. What's the point in my entire life? And they just go down the deep end. It's a trigger. Could simply be, for someone with anxiety issues, going to King Soopers and getting into the aisle where cereal is. And where all the people are. And they walked down that aisle, and all of the sudden there's too many options and there's too many choices. And then that person walks into the aisle and they look like they're looking at them and then they start freaking out and they just leave their car and they go home. It's the real thing. And what happens for people in the midst of that cloud? They think what I need is something that remedies the trigger. So if my trigger is walking into my home and being alone, well, then all I need is just a boyfriend or girlfriend. All I need is a spouse. All I need is friends. All I need is children, because then it'll fix it. But the reality is, it has nothing to do with the trigger. It has everything to do with an actual legitimate disease that you're struggling through. Like it's a real issue. A real thing that needs medical help, counseling, help, it needs self care help, right? And so what happens is we do this all the time. And whether you struggle with this or not, we all do this. We always assume that if we could just get this thing fixed, my life would be better. The problem is that it comes in the form of triggers for people who have depression. I have a dear friend of mine who had no idea. She grew up in Florida and had a really troubled just kind of home life. And what's interesting is in Florida, people don't have [real] grass. And Florida's weird. If you've ever gone to Florida, it's this weird grass. And I didn't know that until I went there. And I was like, what is this stuff like? It's just like mosch like -- I don't even know how to describe it. But anyways, this friend of mine was in Florida one time and life was great and it was going super well and all of a sudden walked along the grass of a house and instantly triggered all of these repressive memories. Instantly. Now, what's the next step of a trigger like that? Never go to Florida again. No. The next step is to remind that individual that it is a real emotion, that's a real struggle, that's a real circumstance, that's real pain, and yet what you need is not to be revoked from the situation, but it's to remind yourself of the faithfulness of God, the goodness of God. I love how the texts or the passage that the author says, "I long for you, God, I need you, God. And then what they do is he says, I remember the days when I used to go to the temple because when I encountered you there, there was joy and praise and goodness." And so what the author even has to do is they go, I have to remind myself that you actually are the only one that is worthy enough for me to worship in only one worthy enough for me to run to in my brokenness. It's so hard, but you so often have to remind yourself that you don't need the other things to cease. You just need more of God and maybe, just maybe in the midst of that, the other things can dissipate for just a moment so you could take a deep breath. To remind yourself of what you truly need. And us as friends and family, we need to remind them of what they truly need. I. had a story about ramen I was going to tell you, but I'll save that for another day. I love ramen.

Number two: Not only do you remind yourself of what you truly need, but you revoke the critics from your life.

You revoke the critics from your life, look at verses three and then nine through 10. "My tears have been my food day and night while people say to me all day long, Where is your God?" They're mocking the author. Verse nine, "I say to God, my rock, why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning oppressed by the enemy? My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, where is your God?" And friends, I want you to write this down because this is so important. Wherever there is depression, there will always be oppression. Wherever there is depression, there will always be oppression, always. Always there is always going to be, for somebody, that oppressive thing, taunting them. Calling out to them, sometimes it's the inner inner critic, sometimes it's the inner voice telling them they're unworthy, they're incapable, that there's no point in going on anymore. Sometimes it's that oppression that's taking place. But the saddest thing, more often than not, it's not them. The saddest part is the oppression often comes from us. The saddest part is that the oppression often comes from the church, the people closest to them, the people closest to you. There are so many people in this world that grew up in the church or they're part of the Christian church culture today that believe that depression is a sin. Is the author of Psalm 42 sinning right now? Or are they just being honest? Think about that. Was Jesus sinning at the Garden of Gethsemane as he wept tears of blood, crying out, "God, oh, God, please take this cup from me," this agony that he feels? This dissonance in his own life? No, of course not. And yet somehow, some way, the narrative in our world and in our churches is that depression is sinful, that we've somehow done something wrong, that we've somehow not appeased the goodness of God. You know what that is? You ever read the story of Job? All this stuff happens to Job and then all of his friends tell him it's your fault, this is God's judgment on you. The reason why only 20 percent of people even come out and say that they're struggling and seek help is because they are terrified that if they tell somebody or they tell a friend or they tell a family member, that individual won't know what to do. And in our -- because we go, it's either on or off in the gray because we don't know what to say or don't know what to do. We say just the dumbest things. "Michael, if you keep praying, it will probably go away." Do you tell that to somebody who has a tumor? You shouldn't. So often the oppressiveness can actually be the people you love the most. You care about the most. Friends, you and I could actually be an oppressive voice to somebody without even knowing it, just by our words. "I mean, how come they can't get over that?" Oh. We say these things. "It's been a while since they've been at church. They're probably just laying in bed." Yeah, there's probably a reason. They probably can't get out of bed. Friends, what you need to do if you're struggling in this season and you're living this dark cloud moment of depression is that you need to find a way to revoke the power of those words. You need to find a way to distance yourself from those people and from those circumstances. And here's the deal, guys. Like I live in a pastoral leadership world, but there are plenty of pastors who think depression is sinful. And the only answer is the Bible and prayer and they're wrong. You need medical help, you need counseling, you need care. They're wrong. And that means, don't listen to them, don't engage with them. And if there's someone that's close to your heart and you love them dearly, help them understand what their words are actually doing to you. "Hey, when you say that, that's not helpful. So can we work on this a little bit, please? I don't even know what I want you to say. So maybe if you could stop saying anything and just hug me, that'll be really nice. Please." The story in Exodus chapter 17 is so beautiful. The Israelites are at war with the Amalekites and Joshua is leading the army and they're not doing well. And Moses discovers that if he raises his hands on the hill, the battle actually begins to be won by the Israelites. And it's this way of interceding and caring for, and like he's like petitioning God to help the people. But all of a sudden, he's holding his arms up for a really long time and it's getting really, really, really exhausting to keep going. And so Aaron and Hur come up and they go, "hey, bro, like, we know what you're going through and we know that you need to keep doing this in order for us to win, to see victory. And so let's put a seat under you." So they grab a rock and put it underneath him. And then he's like, "hey, my arms are really tired." And they're not like, "well, you should have done more bicep curls before you did this." They didn't do that. "Hey, why don't you do a little bit more of the shoulder stuff?" Right? No, but we do that sometimes. "Why don't you do this?" You know, and they go, "how about we just stand right next to you and we lift your arms up the entire time so the battle is done." That's what we're to do, friends. You may have to sit under the arms of someone their whole life. But that's the call, the church. That's what Jesus did. That is a beautiful burden and that is a good burden. We need to be those people, friends, not the critics.

The third and final thing. This is very, very, very important. You need to retell yourself what is true and right, especially when you don't believe it. Retell yourself what is true and right.

I want you to look at verse five and verse 11. They are the identical statements that the author says twice in one song. Verse five, "Why my soul are you downcast, why? Why so disturbed within me? Then he stops. And he tells himself what is true and right. Put your hope in God. For I will yet praise him, my savior and my God. Verse 11, the exact same thing. "Why my soul? Are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my savior, and my God put your hope in God." One of the greatest temptations that you're going to feel friends if you struggle with this is to just destroy yourself with what is not true. You're going to tell yourself over and over and over again in the midst of your struggle, that you're not worthy, that you're not a good mom, that you're not a good dad, that God's upset with you, that you've earned this somehow. Those are all completely untrue things. And what's so amazing is that we just facilitate the growth of these untruths in our lives. And what we need to do, what you have to do, even when you know, like you don't want to do it, is you have to say what is actually true in that moment. You have to force your soul to do what is right to think what is right. This is literally cognitive behavioral therapy. This is what they teach in counseling courses for people. Do something even if you don't want to. What does that look like? Every day waking up: I am worthy of life because I'm an image bearer of God. I am made in the image of my creator and he delights in. I am not a failure. I am not wasted space. I am a good mom, I am a good dad, I am a good student, and my God simply loves me, which should be just enough. These are true things. This is why Paul tells the church in Ephesus, he says, "May I remind you of the gospel once again?" Because he knows the good news always gets forgotten about. Right? This is why when you go on 9 News, it's all junk news. It's all sad stuff because we don't ever remember the good stuff and we always just want to be infatuated with the bad stuff. Paul says, remind yourself of the good news, remind yourself of what is true. "Why are you so downcast on my soul? You know what, soul? You don't have a right to be downcast anymore because my God is good and he loves me and he cares about me." And then you jump into the war a little bit and you go, "hey, this has got to stop. And if you come back and if you combine that with people around you and professionals around you and people that love you and care about you and you remind yourself that your dependency is on God, all of the sudden, it's not going to be fixed, but all of the sudden that cloud gets a little less thick. That's all it is. And then tomorrow. Again. Surround yourself, you revoke the critics, you hear the truth, you remind yourself of the goodness of God, and that cloud gets a little less thick, and then when it comes, again, really heavy, you're not lost anymore. You go, "Okay, here we go."


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