Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

 Isaiah 40:28-31


(first published November 16, 2010)

Recent experience has shown me that it’s impossible for a person to be fully understood by someone who has never experienced depression themselves. In fact, talking to such people about your pain is dangerous. It can lead to more pain than the depression itself. You set yourself up for rejection. And rejection is painful. It can be worse than the depression itself.

The only truly safe people to talk with are those who have been there. Or – the very rare person who walks so closely to Jesus that he/she is willing and able to give fully of himself and understand in the way Jesus understands. To be compassionate, though not having been there yourself is a rare thing. It takes a person who is – for a little while – willing to put himself in the shoes of the suffering person and to suffer with him in the way Jesus did. Few people are able to do this. Everyone has their own life, their own problems. And when we’re depressed we do tend to get awfully self-centered.

This shows how important it is for those of us who do understand, to comfort others in the way we have been comforted. To love in the way we’ve been loved by our most merciful Father in heaven. At least, to remind each other of his great love for us.

We who live with mood disorders badly need each other. We badly need to encourage each other to go to that most compassionate person of all – Jesus Christ. He suffered greatly for all of us. He too was rejected by friends who didn’t understand what he was going through. His disciples slept in the Garden of Gethsemane while he was suffering, not willing to stay awake and be with him. Not understanding the severity of what he was going through.

Jesus knows what suffering is and knows the pain we feel. And his pain was far greater than ours. He gave us his all. Can we give our all to each other? Kind of doubtful. We are human and self-centered, especially when we’re in the midst of depression.

We need to turn to Jesus. But we also need our friends around us. As friends we need to show each other the love of Christ. Sometimes the only way we’ll remember that he’s there is through the hands of another Christ follower. One who will show God’s compassion to us in real terms.

In the name of Jesus let us reach out our hand to others who suffer.

All the more makes me believe in Living Room, though at times it can be a difficult responsibility to bear. We who lead Living Room continually need to turn to God, the One who can strengthen us, in spite of our great weakness. It’s God’s work, after all. Not ours.