In a culture obsessed with projecting that everything’s okay, it’s hard to be vulnerable when things are not okay. It’s hard to see someone getting engaged, sharing they are expecting a child, travelling to their next destination, and having feel-good thoughts.
We are human, we sometimes compare ourselves to others even when we’re not looking to compare ourselves.
When we do compare ourselves, then, we feel like we’re behind. We feel like God didn’t answer our prayers because things didn’t go our way. This is when we began to question God and his love.
This is when, at times, suicide or death looks better than life.
What’s the point of living if all we see in life is trouble and sorrow?
What’s the point of trying when no fruit is coming back in return?
This is what Jeremiah felt like. He was a prophet called by God. He told God, "cursed be the day I was born" (Jeremiah 20:14). He goes on to say may the day my mother bore me not be blessed. He even cursed the person who told his father news about his life. And if that was not depressing enough, listen to his final words to God,
“Why did I ever come out of the womb
to see trouble and sorrow
and to end my days in shame?” (Jeremiah 20: 18).
If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve all been there. We’ve said the same things to God. Even good Christian people doing the right things and worshiping God can feel like this.
Just think about it… this was a prophet of God who felt this way. What about us?
He felt completely alone and abandoned that suicide or death looked better than life.
What do you do when you get to that point?
How do you come out of such a dark hole?
There are a couple of things:
1. Remember your purpose in life. God called Jeremiah to preach to the people of God, but God did not guarantee an easy life but needed someone strong and resilient to accomplish this task. Think about it this, what purpose are you serving in the season of your life? And are you being attacked because you’re doing something for God? Satan is not going to attack anyone who’s doing nothing for God, but he sure is going to be right up your tail when you are preaching the gospel, sharing the good news, and showing in love what it looks like to be a follower of God.
2. Keep the end in mind. Whatever you’re going through is not going to last forever. There is going to be an endpoint. In the end, something good will come out of it. I am reminded of the fact that Jesus suffered on the cross, but out of his suffering salvation became ours. What good thing will come out of your suffering when everything is said and done?
3. Talk to a good friend, someone who is wise. It’s good to share how we’re feeling with one another. This is where the community of God helps. Find a trusted person that you can be honest with and share how you’re feeling and welcome any positive feedback so that you can help yourself.
4. Pray. Sometimes we forget that we are in a spiritual battle. This means we have to pray against Satan and his plan to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). This is an actual reality that most people don’t take seriously. As I said before, Satan doesn’t care about you if you’re not doing anything for God’s kingdom but the moment you open your mouth to do something great for God, get ready for battle.
5. Still live your life. When depression and discouraging feelings come into our lives, it’s easy for us to forget to live. We want to stay in our bed. We don’t want to eat. We don’t want to talk to people. We isolate ourselves. But that will make us go into a deeper hole. Instead, still, live your life. Read a book. Travel. Pick up a new hobby. Go to a sports game. Have dinner with your spouse. Hang out with your children. Exercise. Jeremiah reminded the people that despite them being under God’s judgment and slaves to the Babylonians still do all the things they would have normally done when you are free person. He advised them to build a house, get married, and have children (Jeremiah 29: 5-10). You might not be able to do all things but do what you can and do some things.
6. Don’t forget God. Just because life has been hard and things are not going as planned it's easy to forget about God. I encourage you to still study your Bible, pray, go to church, and do all the right things because, in the end, you will receive your reward (Gal 6: 9). You might not feel like doing your spiritual disciplines, but in the end, it will help.
When you are going through a rough season of depression, discouragement and even suicidal thoughts, don’t be hard on yourself, take it one day at a time. Do what you can do, and trust God for the rest. Then when everything is said and done, and you persevere through those times, you will say God was with you, God had a plan, and God’s purpose was fulfilled.
Here’s the truth: God wants you to live not to die, but until then we have to persevere and battle until it is time to leave this earth. Right now life might be hard and you might not see the light, but it will all be worth it in the end if you fight. The world is a better place because you are alive, never forget that. Your family wants you to know that. Your friends want you to know that. And above all God wants you to know that truth.