Of all the words to describe depression, one word stands out: darkness. If you have ever felt depressed, your world is dark. Darkness permeates every aspect of your life. Everything is dark. One author calls depression a “stubborn darkness.” The Psalmist, in a time of depression, said: “Darkness is my closest friend” (Ps 88:18).
Turning to another Psalm, we encounter a man in deep darkness. He laments, “Why are you in despair, Oh my soul? Why are you distressed within me” (Ps 42:5, 11)? Regardless of the nuances between the words “depression,” “despair,” and “distress,” the Psalmist’s life felt dark.
Since depression is marked by darkness, the one thing that a depressed person needs is light. Light, in this case, is a metaphor for hope. True hope. This, indeed, is the Psalmist’s remedy: “hope in God” (Ps 42:5, 11). Not hope that your future will get better; not hope that the pain will go away; hope IN GOD.
Hope in God is indeed the ultimate remedy for depression. Why? Because circumstances might not change. And even if circumstances do change, nothing guarantees they will remain. At the end of the day, there is only one thing that matters: God. Without God, you ultimately have nothing.
This does not mean that other remedies should not be taken to treat depression (e.g., diet, exercise, sleep, medication, counseling, etc.). It means that these remedies, if needed, should all be performed while at the same time hoping in God.
Do you feel depressed? If your soul is cast down, dear believer, find joy and satisfaction in him—not in your family, finances (or lack thereof), possessions, vacations, career, sex, plans, hopes, dreams, and a million other things. Hope in God. Do not look inward to self; look outward to God. The only “light within,” remarks Puritan George Swinnock, leads “a man to the chambers of utter darkness.” So, even now, look outward to the Light.
Hope. In. God.