Are you depressed because God seems to have abandoned you?
The problems and struggles Saint Paul faced actually became his inspiration. Instead of succumbing to depression, he overcame it by being thankful. The apostles regarded problems and difficulties as “pure joy.” (James 1:2-4)
The problems Apostle Paul had to endure
- Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.
- Three times I was beaten with rods and stoned.
- Three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.
- I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren.
- I have been in labor and hardship.
- Many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
- I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
Three things Paul reminds us
1. Consider it pure joy!
If you believe God is in control, like Paul, trusting God who makes all things work together for our own good helps us overcome (Romans 8:28). However, this only applies to those who love God.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”
Consider it Pure joy when you face trials
→ Spiritual Deliverance: Spiritual warfare is real.
2. Paul was always “thankful”
Apostle Paul faced persecution, yet he had joy because he was thankful to God in everything (Philippians 1:3). Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Jesus also faced difficulties as a human
Christ often spent time alone with God to strengthen His spirit. In fact, just as He was about to get physically worn out, Jesus escapes the crowd and often fasted.
Jesus thanked His Father for all things, and so should we. (Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21; John 6:11; John 11:41; Luke 22:17,19)
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.“
Give thanks in everything
3. Paul focused on the good things only
“… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things.“
Have you ever thanked God for your problems?
Have you ever said “thank you, God” for your problems? This is an important attitude that helps overcome depression. To say “thank you,” means you are accepting God’s will. It also means you trust Him. We’re commanded not to be anxious but to be thankful. (Philippians 4:6)