The depression beast

[March 11, 2014: I plan to write more on this topic as medication has played an important role in keeping the depression beast dormant.]

Depression is a beast within. Years ago in the midst of a depressive episode I sat on the living room couch during the twilight of the day. Outside, the trees were silhouetted against an indigo sky. The depression beast ate away at where emotion and purpose should have been found within me. On my lap lay my Bible, which I was reluctant to open. How can mere words on a page help? I wondered.

Today I am reading in Mark’s Gospel about the madman in the cemetery that Jesus healed:

“[The disciples and Jesus] arrived on the other side of the sea in the country of the Gerasenes. As Jesus got out of the boat, a madman from the cemetery came up to him. He lived there among the tombs and graves. No one could restrain him—he couldn’t be chained, couldn’t be tied down. He had been tied up many times with chains and ropes, but he broke the chains, snapped the ropes. No one was strong enough to tame him. Night and day he roamed through the graves and the hills, screaming out and slashing himself with sharp stones. ….

“A large herd of pigs was browsing and rooting on a nearby hill. The demons [possessing the man] begged him, ‘Send us to the pigs so we can live in them.’ Jesus gave the order. ….

“Everyone wanted to see what had happened. They came up to Jesus and saw the madman sitting there wearing decent clothes and making sense, no longer a walking madhouse of a man.

“As Jesus was getting into the boat, the demon-delivered man begged to go along, but he wouldn’t let him. Jesus said, ‘Go home to your own people. Tell them your story—what the Master did, how he had mercy on you.’ The man went back and began to preach in the Ten Towns area about what Jesus had down for him.” The Daily Message, Day 23

The Bible is much more that merely words on a page.

“The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word. The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one. Everything was created through him; nothing—not one thing!—came into being without him. What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.” (John 1:1-5, The Message)

“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, generous inside and out, true from start to finish.” (John 1:14, The Message)

The words of the Bible are not merely ink on the page. They point to The Word—The One who created us, all we see, and all we can’t see. They point to The One who holds all things together. The words in the Bible point to Jesus who has the power to heal us from all sin and infirmity.

As I read about the madman in today’s Bible reading, I remembered that pit of depression I had been in. I had no faith in words on a page that day. But Jesus continuing to be beneficially active in my life isn’t dependent on my faithfulness, but on His. And He has been faithful to lead me through and out of the pits of depression in which I have floundered.

Jesus said to the madman he had healed, “Go home to your own people. Tell them your story—what the Master did, how he had mercy on you.” And that is what I am doing here. The Master has had mercy on me. He has driven out the depression beast.