I too have battled the demons of darkness, despair, and self destruction. Because of my typical sunshiny disposition, I guess this would come as a shock to most. I battled alone, staying brave, not wanting to bother anyone with the pettiness of a depression that they wouldn’t understand – that I didn’t understand.
There were times when I had every good thing going on for me. Yet there was still an oppressive gloom that covered me. It was the dark cloud above my head that moved in step with me. There were times that the only logical solution to the pain that gripped my heart was to end my life. At those times God would remind me of those that I loved and those who loved me. I might not have felt their love at that time, but I did realize the burden that would be theirs for their lifetime should I end my life. During a bout of post-partum depression, I remember thinking, “This child would be better off without me.” And then the thought would come, “What will that child grow to think and feel if I didn’t care enough for them to hang around for them?” That consideration was enough to continue in the battle.
As I matured in my Christian walk, I realized that I truly did not battle alone. There was hope in Christ Jesus.
Our pastor preached on hope this past week. He shared 1 Corinthians 13:13 – “And these three remain: faith, hope, and love.” As Pastor Jim put it, “Hope is the sustaining energy that connects faith and love.” But this hope can only be found if we are anchored in Jesus.
Hebrews 6:18-20 from The Message says, “We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.
In 1 Corinthians 10:13 (MSG) we are promised: “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.”
I am sure in the days and weeks ahead the topic of depression will be brought into more conversations. If someone as seemingly happy and as “sunny” as Robin Williams suffered from it to such a state that he was willing to take his own life surely the issue of it is a reality many others bear.
I wish that Robin Williams had known the same hope that I did (and do) – the hope that is found only through Christ Jesus. I wish someone had seen the hurt beyond the smile and offered it to him.
The song “Hope Changes Everything” says this,
“I could be the spark
You could be the word
We could tell them something
That maybe they’ve never heard
Hope, yeah we could give it together
And reach into the heart
Of the darkest night
Lift ’em off the ground
When they’ve lost the fight
Keep ’em hanging on
Through the disbelief
Every day, every step, every dream
Hope can change everything
Hope can change everything”
Today make a difference in someone else. Share with them the hope that is found in Jesus. You never know who among us need that word most. It may mean life in the depths of their deepest fears. It may give them the courage to keep fighting. It may change the world.