Depression has been both an enemy and a close companion of mine since I started high school. I have been told that depression is a disease, a disability and an aggressive attacker of which I am a victim. It is clinical and defined as a very real disorder. But in my opinion, it is nothing more than a state of mind that keeps me from recognizing the joy that is mine. It is a prison.
In all transparency, depression is still a struggle. But it has become a choice whether I am going to allow it to become me or to fight me.
Choose to fight.
One of my all time favorite prayers is one of David.
” Blessed be the Lord, my rock
who trains my hands for war,
and my fingers for battle;
he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me.”
Psalm 144:1-2 (ESV)
Although located towards the end of this book, theologians believe this Psalm was written shortly after David defeated Goliath. In his youth, he took on the Philistine giant with nothing more than a slingshot. And he won. This battle is powerful for two reasons- it was fought by a boy who was willing to say yes, even when failure most likely meant death, and it was a victory that directed all the glory to God. And David recognized this.
I love this prayer because it identifies that our battles are not fought alone, nor are they faced entirely unprepared. We enter into every battle already trained because of God’s steadfast love. I used to pray for deliverance from my depression- I would ask God to do the fighting for me. Although God is entirely able, His glory is better shown in our willingness to fight even when defeat seems the only outcome. It is in that willingness that God’s fighting becomes our strength.
This prayer is also written in present tense. God trains our hands for war. We train however not in a gym or an army base but in our quiet time every morning. That daily drawing near to God is enough to teach us to fight our battles. It empowers us with a renewed strength to say, I will. And it gives God permission to fight for us. God is God. He doesn’t need permission but He longs to be needed just as much as He longs for us to recognize our need for Him. The most powerful prayer you can pray is, God, I need you.
Lastly, the promises of God are so strong in this passage. When we are willing to fight, God promises to be our fortress, our stronghold and our shield – all of which promise protection, security and safety. He also promises to be our deliverer. With God fighting with us, victory is the only possible outcome. Deliverance, however, may not mean complete freedom. Like all worldly battles, they are daily victories, not eternal victories. Eternal victories are reserved for our glorious entrance into heaven when we no longer have to fight for joy, peace or freedom. Years after David’s victory over Goliath, David had committed a sin in which God punished not only David, but also His people with severe illness that for many resulted in death. As David was building an altar to the Lord, He wrote,
“For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.”
Psalm 30:5 (ESV)
Weeping (aka depression) may come in the night, but there is a promise that joy
will come with the morning. Battles may be our darkness, but joy will be the light that guides us out.
Each and every one of our battles involves a choice that only we can make. A decision to embrace defeat or to fight. When we choose to fight, we are promised that..
1. We will never fight alone
2.God has and will teach us how to fight
3. God is our security and protection
4. With God on our side, we will be victorious
5. And we will experience joy
So whatever the battle that you are facing. Choose to fight. The victory is worth the struggle because you are worth the fight.