“But does God actually want to help me?”
That’s what I found myself thinking yesterday. I’m coming out of a season of depression and I find myself doubting that God is interested, that He cares, and that He wants to help me.
I believe I can trace the improvement in my condition to a Sunday about two weeks ago. The message was based on Luke 18’s parable of the persistent widow, specifically when Jesus tells his audience that “they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” Pastor Bruce asked us to call to mind a painful area of our life with which we had lost heart, for which we had quit praying boldly. Tears were streaming down my face before response time even began. I knew exactly what my area was- my depression. Even with medication and therapy, I just wasn’t making any headway in feeling better. I’d been sucked into the black hole and was unable to get out.
I went down to the altar and tried my best to submit my depression to God. I physically left it at the altar, written on a card included in our bulletin, designed to communicate prayer requests. I hadn’t been to the altar in years, and I didn’t immediately feel any different.
But over the next few days, I felt tentatively optimistic. I was feeling better. The darkness wasn’t quite so consuming, the negative thoughts not quite so intrusive.
Fast forward two weeks, and I’m having my own little worship service in the car- songs turned up loud, I’m singing with abandon, I’m amazed at the difference in how I feel, and I pray “Thank you for healing me.”
Then come the thoughts- You’re not better, who are you kidding, God doesn’t care about your depression, besides He probably gave it to you.
In Christ’s strength, and with the voice of a dear friend in my head, I called this what it was- a spiritual attack. So I knew I had to fight it with truth from God’s word.
When I doubt that God is good, when I doubt that He really cares about me, I have a few verses that I return to time and time again. I share these in hopes that you, too, can turn to them if you are attacked with such doubts.
- “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT
- This assures me that He cares for me- He calls me His masterpiece! He has always had good things planned for me because He loves me and has created me anew in Christ Jesus.
- “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
- God is good; He wants and has good things for me. He does not harm me, but instead walks with me through things that do harm to me.
- “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:9-11 NIV
- This is the passage I return to over and over again when I doubt that God is good. He’s not waiting to get me, He’s not waiting to teach me a lesson for sins He’s long ago forgiven- He’s waiting to give me the good things I ask for.
Our God is good. He loves us and wants us to cast all of our cares on him! When I am tempted to doubt God’s goodness, I bathe myself in prayer and the truth of God’s word.
What about you- How do you calm your heart when you doubt God’s goodness or interest in you?