Dr. Ed Young - Depression
Now I want us to read this together. Would you do that? Listen to it. Read it with me: "Why are you down in the dumps..."? Time out! All twelve of you! Read it with me! Here we go! "Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God. Soon, I'll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He's my God". Now let's say it like this: He puts a smile on my face; He's my God! Say it like that. Here we go: "He puts a smile on my face; He's my God".
That is the chorus that liberates the Psalmist, and we'll see it liberates you and me out of the moments of deep, deep despair and depression. A psychologist was addressing a class of would-be psychologists. His topic was "Manic Depression". When he got through the message, he said, "I'm going to give you a little test". He said, "Here's a man whose walking and shouting and screaming to the top of his voice, and the next minute, he is sitting down crying uncontrollably. Tell me about this person". A young guy lifted his hand. He said, "Yes"? He said, "He's a basketball coach"! So we talk about depression. Depression according to the World Health Association is the number two leading disabler of people in the western world.
Did you get that? Cardiovascular disease is the number one problem medically in the western world. Depression is the number two problem. There are about 312 or 313 million people in the United States, and any given time, there are between 30 and 40 million of them are depressed. The estimates are that 15 percent of the population of America takes anti-depressants. Depression costs corporate America listen carefully over 70 billion dollars a year as they seek to medically help their employees. You're four to one more likely to have a heart attack if you're depressed, than someone who is not depressed. It is a staggering medical problem.
In fact, it is the number one medical problem of people in the western world who are under 44 years of age. See, I barely get under that... And all of us deal with it in different forms, all the way from being down in the dumps, or being blue; all the way to clinical depression. Some of you remember the cartoon, "Peanuts". And you remember when, Lucy would go and set up her booth? Remember? She set up her booth, and she'd get behind the booth, and Charlie Brown would come up and she would answer all his problems, and on that booth, it would say sometimes, "The Psychiatrist Is In, 5 cents". Remember?
Let me say to you up front, the psychiatrist is not in. I am not going to pretend to stand here and tell you that I could give you three points and a poem, and quote a couple of Scriptures and sheewww! Shazam! You'll be healed of depression. It doesn't work like that for many people because it is complex; it is circumstantial; it involves people; it involves our past history; but my purpose is to get you and me to think critically and Biblically when we deal with depression. That's my purpose, to think Biblically and critically when we deal with depression.
Now let's try to define it. Someone said that it's taking a lot of diseases and mixing them together and putting them in a waste basket. What does it mean to be depressed? It is unique sadness. It is a overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and helplessness. It is being bottomed out. It is running out of bullets. It is a battle of fatigue and exhauston, exhaustion for no real physical reason. Depression, I think, is you take a life and you stick a pin in it, and whewwwwww! All the air comes out. All the passion, all the zest comes out, and that's the reason depression can be called a crushed spirit. A crushed spirit.
Now, you see the cause of depression is found in several Verses. Look at Verse 3, the latter part of Psalm 42. He says, "While they say to me all day long, 'Where is your God?'" That will lead you into depression. If there are people around you that all day long, day after day, a problem comes up and they say, "Well, where is your God"? Or a situation comes up and they say, "Well, are you a Christian"? And all day long, they are questioning, they are belittling, they're challenging day, after day, after day. "Where is God? Well, if there is a God..." And you have people that surround us, and if you're surrounded by individuals like that, let me tell you something: They will beat you up and you'll have to battle with the, as Winston Churchill called it, "The black dog". Churchill would say "The black dog of depression has come into my house..."
He was talking about darkness, being into a pit where there is no light. And by the way, let me say up front people say, "Well, if you're a Christian, you can't be depressed..." Not so! Many great saints in history battled with depression, with despondency, with negativity, with problems that absolutely overwhelm them. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, arguably one of the great communicators of the Gospel in the last century always had to face almost every week, depression. So don't let anybody out-pious you. Look at another aspect of depression.
Look at the middle of Verse same Chapter, of Verse Number 9. It says, "Why do I go mourning? Because of the oppression of the enemy". In other words, every time there's somebody there who is opposing you. You know, whatever it is, they're there as the opposition. They're there to confront. That will lead you into depression. Look what else you see in Verse 10. "As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me while they say to me all day long, 'Where's your god?'" They laugh! Heh, heh, heh! "I mean, you still believe the Bible is true? I mean, where have you been? Did you ever go to school? I mean what kind... oh, ho, ho"!
They revile, they laugh, they criticize all day long. They question. That will just beat any believer up, any individual up. It will throw us into depression. And what kind of people are these that are around the Psalmist? He, people like we know. Look at the second part of Verse 1 in Chapter 43. He says, "O' deliver me from the deceitful and unjust person". They're deceitful. They, they're conniving and they're unjust. By that, they don't know the difference in right and wrong. They don't know the Difference in that which is just and that which is unjust.
Just surround anybody here with folks like this "Well, where is your God"? with folks that are always opposing you and questioning you look what it says, "...all day long. All day long". Read that twice. And they revile. They laugh. The worst thing they can do is laugh at us. We don't, we don't like to be laughed at. "Oh, ho, ho, man, look at you! I'm just so... my goodness"! See, they revile, undercut... and they're deceitful people, empty people. And they don't know justice the difference in right and wrong, and what is honorable, what is dishonorable; what is profane, and what is of God, see? Surround us like that, folks, ladies and gentlemen, and it will beat you down, and you will be depressed.
Now, we see here the causes of depression, and we see now the symptoms of depression in the life of the Psalmist. Stay with me! He confesses, he lays the symptoms out clearly. I want you to see them here. His first symptom is one of dryness. We can identify with that in our depression. Look what he says, Verse 1, Chapter 42. "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for you, O' God! My soul thirsts for God, for the Living God. When shall I come and appear before God"? It is like a deer that is looking for water and runs to a brook, and the brook is dry, and there's no moisture in the sand. You see it? And therefore, he is panting.
There is the feeling of dryness. When we're oppressed, sometimes we're dry. Right? We are not interested in anything; we don't care about anything; we've bottomed out. I use the expression, "I'm out of bullets; I'm empty; I'm dry". This is what the Psalmist is saying. That's how oppression and, and depression manifested itself. He said, "I'm dry". Also, he says, "I'm drowning". Look at it in the same Chapter. Look at, Verse 7. "Deep calls to deep at the sound of your waterfalls, all the breakers and your waters have rolled over me".
There is the dryness that comes from depression, and there is the waters that have rolled over me. In other words, we're, we're depressed. We feel like we're drowning. Ever feel like that? I'm just drowning... there, is so much there's so much conflict. There are so many barriers. There, is so much heartache. There's so much brokenness, and I'm so sick... And so we feel like we're all the world is on top of us. We're drowning, another sign of depression. Then the other sign of depression is we lose heart. By the way, you find, you find dryness in the first stanza of this hymn. You, you found drowning in the second stanza. In the third stanza, beginning with the 43rd Chapter, you find you lose heart. You're disheartened.
And we see that all the way through Verse 2: "For you are the God of my strength. Why have You rejected me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of my enemies"? See, you lose heart. You lose your passion. You use, use a real desire to get up in the morning, and you're disheartened. So the Psalmist says, "Hey..." We see what caused his depression. Did you get that? And then we see what happens, the kind of depression he had, dryness. He felt like he was drowning, and he lost his heart.
Now what is the cure for depression? What is the answer for depression? The Psalmist has it built in has it built in. I want you to see it here very clearly. All of this is a prayer, Chapter 43. He says, "Vindicate me, O' God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation". Verse 2: "For You are my God. You are the God of my strength, and You have why have You rejected me"? And then he goes here in Verse Number 3: "O' send Your light and Your Truth, and then lead me. Let them bring me to Your holy hill, and to Your dwelling place. Then I will go to the altar of God. To God my exceeding joy and upon the lyre (that's the harp) I shall sing praise to You, O' God, my God". What do we do? We're depressed.
Number one, the Psalmist, he just wouldn't let go. When you read this, do you have any problem knowing he's depressed? Do you see the words there? You can't miss it! He's depressed. We have to start and let go and say, "I'm gonna take all my depression and let it come out in the light". See, depression speaks of darkness, and coming out of depression, we walk in the light. The Psalmist says, "I'm gonna let go. I'm depressed. I'm down. I don't have the joy of God, the joy of worship, the joy of people... I'm down". That's the first thing we do. We just let go. We let go. That is very, very important. We have to just get honest. A lot of people come and say, "You know, I'm depressed. I don't know why..." I'd say, "Really"? "Yeah...." I'd say, "Well, guess at it..."
You know they guess it almost the first time? And a lot of times, we just don't face we just don't face up to this, and that is so very important that we face up to it. You see it? What's another thing of depression? Look here in the Scripture. It's clear, and it's plain to us. Then he says the next thing: "Remember..." Look at Verse 4. "These things I remember". Look at Verse 6. "Therefore, I remember you". When we're depressed, we have to go back and remember. Remember the time you felt close to God. Remember that joy. Listen if you are blessed, you can't be depressed! You gotta remember where we are. Remember who we are in Christ. Remember His grace. Remember His second chance. Remember the joy of the Lord.
We have to remember. God has given us a memory so we can look back in dark moments and say, "Yes! I remember that hallelujah time! Yes! I remember that glorious time..." Then the third thing you have to do first of all, you let go, right? You let go. You bring it all out in the light, your depression. Next thing you do, you remember greater, better days when God was there. That's what the Psalmist did all the way through this hymn. And then finally, what do you do? You talk to yourself. Boy... When you wake up in the morning, is anybody talking to you? Yeah! They are! You, yourself is talking to you. I wake up every morning. Myself is saying something to me. Yours is too.
Now the Psalmist says, "Look, don't listen to yourself. Talk to yourself"! If you just listen to all your human, rational kind of thinking, when you wake up, you talk to yourself and say, "God..." Let me, let me, let me explain this. Remember who you are, what you're about. You talk to yourself. See, we listen to ourselves; we don't deal with our depression. I listen to myself. I say, "Well, I'm depressed because I made some mistakes..." No, usually we're depressed because we made some poor choices. You know the difference between a mistake and a choice? Radically different. Here is someone who is walking in the forest. Beautiful day. They need to go through the forest in order to get home, and they walk through the forest and, and it's just a magnificent walk, and they suddenly look away, and they don't notice, and they trip and fall over a cliff and break their neck. That's a mistake. Right?
A choice would be, here's someone. It is night. He does not have to walk through the forest, but he decides to walk through the forest, and there is a bright sign there saying, "No Trespassing". He goes farther in the forest, and it says, "Danger Ahead". He moves on in the forest, and there's a big sign that says, "Turn Around And Go Back". And then he trips and falls over the cliff and breaks his neck. He can't say, "I made a mistake"! He made a choice! Therefore, when we find ourselves depressed... see, a mistake... If I say something I didn't mean to say, and I can go to you and say, "You know, I want you to forgive me. I didn't, I just didn't speak properly..." "Sure, I'll forgive you. Everybody makes mistakes..." But if I purposely decide to put you down and to slander you, and to misinterpret you, and abuse you, and I do it over a period of time, I've made a choice.
So a lot of times in order to let go of depression; we have to realize we haven't made a mistake "Oh, it's just a mistake..." We made a choice, and with choices, we have to confess. We have to seek to make restitution. There has to be probably some tears of remorse. There has to be repentance, and there has to be a humbling and an asking for forgiveness. Do you see the difference? We haven't really dealt with the basic problem that was pushing us down under the water.
Now, we have to make different choices. And I want you to see the choices, the change that the psalmist begins to make. Look at here. He says right here, Chapter 43, Verse Number 3: "O send Your light..." Other words, he chose the presence of God. That's light, God's light, isn't it? "...and send Your Truth". He chose the Person of God. That's Truth. "...and then lead me and let them bring me to Your holy hill and to your dwelling place". He chose the precepts of God. That's the Word of God. Verse 4: "Then I will go to the altar of God".
He chose the people of God. He hadn't been worshipping; he hadn't been going to church with other people. He chose the people of God. Then he says, "And to God my exceeding joy, and, I will upon the lyre, upon the harp, I shall praise You, O' God, my God". He chose the praise of God. See what I'm saying? If we're going to come out of depression, we've got to do like the psalmist did. We've got to change our choices. You've got to choose the Person of God. You've gotta choose the presence of God. You've got to choose to live by the precepts of God. He'll put you on the path. You, you have to choose the people of God that is the corporate worship together. And then finally, you have to choose to praise God. You can't be depressed when you're always being blessed. And we come out of it.
Now, you remember Jesus? When He sent out those Apostles the first time; He got all the Apostles. He sent them out in two's to heal, and to preach, and to do His work? Can you remember that? That's an event in the story of His life? And when all the Apostles went out; when they came back to Jesus, what do you think He did? Did He say, "Oh, let's bow and pray and ask God to help us as we've touched all these lives"? No. Did He say, "Let's get a new strategy of evangelism so we can go out and touch more people for the Kingdom of God"?
Did He tell His Apostles, they came back is that what He said? No. What did He say? He said, "Come apart and rest". Hhmm... That's not pious enough for some of us, is it? They were exhausted, down. They'd been beaten up by people. They'd been out in ministry; they'd been doing their thing, fulfilling their vocational call, and they came to Jesus. He said, "Come apart and rest". Vance Havner, an old evangelist said, "If you don't rest, you'll come apart". Heh-heh.
See, one sign of depression is, you want to sleep all the time. You don't want to be with people. You just want to sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep. If that's the symptom of your depression, you need to listen to Ezekiel. The theme of the Book of Ezekiel is found in two Verses, and they say the same thing. "The Spirit of the Lord came upon me and stood me on my feet..." and if you want to sleep all the time in your depression, let me tell you: The Spirit of the Lord, if you'll invite Him in your life, will come upon you and stand you on your feet! So you need to wake up!
Now by the same token, if your depression is one of hyperactivity "Man, I don't want to face all this. I'm gonna have more recreation; I'm gonna travel. I'm gonna read. I'm gonna have television blaring. I'm gonna have something in my ear. I'm gonna be computing, and faxing, and whatever we do telegraphing", whatever you're doing "Man, I'm just gonna be... 'cause I don't want to face the depths of my despair"!
If that's you, your problem is not sleeping too much; you're trying to cover over the malady and the darkness in your life by activity. If that's you, come apart and rest. Elijah, the classic illustration of a depressed person in the Bible. He had a mountaintop experience, and now he's depressed, and he run from Jezebel, and he's out there in the wilderness, and the angel comes to him and says, "Here, I prepared you some food. Now go to sleep". Elijah wakes up. He said, "Here, eat some more. Go back to sleep".
Some of us need to rest, or we'll come apart. That'll help your depression. Others of us need to understand the Spirit of God will come in us and set us on our feet, and we need to wake up. Some need to go to sleep; some need to wake up. And the bottom line then you know what we can sing? Look at your screen again, this great, great chorus. Look at it! Look at it. "Fix my eyes on God..." that's the first thing we do, "and soon I'll be praising again! He puts a smile on my face because", say it with me "He's my God"! All right... He puts a smile on my face. Say that. All fifteen of you say that. Because He's my God!