When it rains, everything seems wet
Dark clouds descend, obscuring my view
The rattle of raindrops muffles the sounds of life
And I am cocooned in sadness
“A Weathered Heart” by Anthea Kotlan
This poem reflects a few aspects of depression. If you have ever experienced a season of depression or if someone you love has dealt with depression, some of this might resonate with you.
The book of psalms is a proven place to find respite and empathy when I am dealing with difficult emotions or challenges. The authors of the psalms, particularly David, poured out anguish, fear, anger, jealousy, and joy.
What if I read Psalm 6 through the lens of depression?
Depression can be like a relentless enemy seeking out its target in the dark of the night and remaining heavily upon the victim for days, weeks, months, or even years.
David writes in Psalm 6 about his struggles with a “troubled soul.” This psalm features both lament and repentance.
1 O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath. 2 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled. 3 My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O Lord—how long? (Psalm 6:1-3 ESV)
Depression causes physical pain and false condemnation. Sufferers can lose perspective and become overwhelmed by the length and breadth of their misery. Time slows to the consistency of molasses. Healing of the body and the heart seems far out of reach.
4 Turn, O Lord, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love. 5 For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise? (Psalm 6:4-5 ESV)
The psalmist cries out to God in desperation. Depression causes a loss of hope and the ability to see any future. However, David declares God’s steadfast love over himself amid his pain.
God will deliver those who cry out to Him because of His steadfast love.
6 I am weary with my moaning; every night, I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. 7 My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes. (Psalm 6:6-7 ESV)
Depression zaps energy and loads the heart down with grief, making it hard to sleep at night (verse 6). David’s couch (or bed) is drenched in tears at night. Then, in the middle of the night, isolation crowds in, causing someone to feel completely desperate. The darkness outside disorients the soul even more.
8 Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. 9 The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer. (Psalm 6:8-9 ESV)
In these verses, David declares over himself the truth that God hears his weeping and his pleas. God also accepts David’s prayers. To know that you are listened to and seen is vital in a season of depression.
As a friend, are you willing to practice being present with a friend who is suffering? Can you go and sit in the hard times without minimizing or dismissing their concerns? This is the hard and brave work of the Kingdom of God.
10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment. (Psalm 6:10 ESV)
David declares how God settles scores and turns enemies away in this final verse. God protects our reputations and reverses expected outcomes. He redeems.
Lord, I give thanks today because you hear my prayers and pleas. You know my heart and mind when I become overwhelmed with crushing sadness. Even my darkest thoughts are safe in your hands. You are my refuge in overwhelming times of grief. In the night, you provide the light of hope, and I will run to you again and again.
When my loved ones feel crushed by sadness, help me to be willing to draw near and be present with them. Give me the strength to sit in sorrow. Even when I don’t have the answers, let me be an agent of your love in the dark of the night.
In Jesus’ name,
**Sometimes depression arrives in our lives due to sad and difficult situations. However, depression can also come about due to much more profound and complex issues requiring medical intervention. If you or a friend are struggling with depression, it is always wise to seek a complete evaluation from your doctor or a licensed counselor. Isolation and shame only delay the ability to seek long-term sustainable solutions.