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Jehovah’s Witnesses

AWAKE! JULY 2009

Help From ‘the God of Comfort’

KING DAVID was a man who experienced much anguish and many “disquieting thoughts.” Yet, he never doubted that the Creator understands us in every way. “O Jehovah, you have searched through me, and you know me,” he wrote. “You yourself have come to know my sitting down and my rising up. You have considered my thought from far off. For there is not a word on my tongue, but, look! O Jehovah, you already know it all.”Psalm 139:1, 2, 4, 23.

We too can be certain that our Creator understands us and the debilitating effect that depression can have on our imperfect minds and bodies. He knows what causes depression and how we can best cope under present circumstances. Furthermore, he has revealed how he will cure depression forever. We could wish for no one better to help us than our compassionate “God, Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers the depressed.”2 Corinthians 7:6, The Amplified Bible.

But depressed ones may wonder how God can help them when they experience distressing emotions.

Is God accessible to the depressed?

God is so close to his depressed servants that it is as if he resided with the “crushed and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly ones and to revive the heart of the ones being crushed.” (Isaiah 57:15) How comforting to know that “Jehovah is near to those that are broken at heart; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves”!Psalm 34:18.

How can the depressed get comfort from God?

At any time of the day, God’s worshippers have approach to the “Hearer of prayer,” who can help us to cope with distressing feelings and circumstances. (Psalm 65:2) The Bible urges us to pour out our hearts to him: “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:6, 7.

What if feelings of unworthiness make us think that our prayers are not being heard?

Depression may cause us to conclude that our attempts to please God are not adequate. However, our heavenly Father is sensitive to our fragile emotions, “remembering that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14) Even if “our hearts may condemn us,” we can “persuade our hearts” that “God is greater than our hearts and knows all things.” (1 John 3:19, 20, footnote) Therefore, you can use expressions in your prayers that you glean from such Bible passages as Psalm 9:9, 10; 10:12, 14, 17; and 25:17.

What if we are too distraught to put our feelings into words?

 When painful emotions are so overwhelming that rational speech is difficult, do not give up! Keep approaching “the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort,” knowing that he understands your feelings and needs. (2 Corinthians 1:3) Maria, mentioned earlier in this series, says: “At times, when I feel very confused, I do not know what to pray about. But I know that God understands and helps me.”

How does God answer our prayers?

The Bible does not suggest that God removes all our difficulties now. However, God does impart the strength to cope with “all  things”—including depression. (Philippians 4:13) “When I first suffered from depression,” admits Martina, “I prayed for Jehovah to heal me immediately because I thought I would not be able to bear it any longer. Now I am content to pray for strength each day.”

The Scriptures are a vital source of spiritual strength to help afflicted individuals to cope with depression. Sarah, who has battled depression for 35 years, personally experienced the practical value of daily Bible reading. She relates: “I truly appreciate what the medical profession has done for me. Above all, though, I realize the spiritual and practical value of reading God’s Word. I have made a habit of reading it.”

No More Depression—Ever!

When Jesus Christ was on earth, he demonstrated his God-given power to cure painful maladies. Jesus was eager to bring relief to people who suffered from grievous sicknesses. Moreover, he himself knows the agony of distraught emotions. On the night before he was to die a painful death, “Christ offered up supplications and also petitions to the One who was able to save him out of death, with strong outcries and tears.” (Hebrews 5:7) As distressing as that was to Jesus at the time, we benefit now because “he is able to come to the aid of those who are being put to the test.”Hebrews 2:18; 1 John 2:1, 2.

The Bible reveals that God purposes to remove all the distressing conditions that contribute to depression. He promises: “I am creating new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart. But exult, you people, and be joyful forever in what I am creating.” (Isaiah 65:17, 18) The “new heavens,” God’s Kingdom, will restore the “new earth,” a society of righteous people on earth, to perfect physical, emotional, and spiritual health. All sicknesses will be wiped out permanently.

“I have called out your name, O Jehovah, from a pit of the lowest sort. My voice you must hear. Do not hide your ear to my relief, to my cry for help. You have drawn near in the day that I kept calling you. You said: ‘Do not be afraid.’”Lamentations 3:55-57