9. Learning that God’s ways are not my ways
From a human point of view, I did not want to be disciplined but God has different ideas. The Bible tells us that God will discipline those He loves (Hebrews 12:7) and it will not be pleasant at the time (Hebrews 12:11).
Repentance requires humbling yourself and humanly speaking I wanted to avoid this. The Bible says we are “easily entangled in sin” (Hebrews 12:1). I needed to repent and not hide my sin. As King David says; “when I kept silent, my bones wasted away … then I acknowledged my sin to you … and you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 22:3, 5).
I didn’t want to suffer but the Bible tells me I will suffer. The disciples said; “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” (Acts 14:22). “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).
10. People around me
Many people have helped me overcome depression, for which I am eternally grateful. These included my family, close friends, acquaintances, work colleagues and my students. Below is an interaction with one of these people.
In one time of desperation, I said to my wife; “That’s it, I’m going” and went to start the car. My wife wrestled with me to take the keys from me saying “Why not come up and have a cup of tea?” The pleadings of my wife prevailed.
We are asked to forgive someone who has wronged us. Doesn’t seem fair does it? But God commands us to forgive (Matthew 6:15). Once you have forgiven, you may like to start to affirm the things you admire in your spouse. You married your spouse so there must be things you admire! You may also like to confess some of your wrongs (sins) to your spouse. Either way, whatever happens between you and your spouse, you are to forgive them.
11. Fighting hard in the spiritual world
“Satan is an enemy of God and goodness; he is the hater of all truth … He is full of malice, envy, and revenge: Satan’s quiver is full of poisonous darts.”1 I must fight as hard as I can, as my wicked, intelligent and supernatural enemy (the devil) is a murderer (John 8:44), seeking to kill me. I had underestimated his fury. Don’t be surprised when weird things happen.
Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us that we can protect ourselves from the devil by, among other things, reading God’s Word (the Bible) and by praying. The battle is in our minds, so we must keep a watchful eye on our thoughts. Psalm 119:11, tells us that studying the Bible stops us from sinning so study your Bible continually and thoroughly. The devil is tempting us with words (thoughts, often lies) and we must use the Word of God, the real truth, as a weapon against him. In the spiritual battle we are told that we are to; “Humble ourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
12. Medical support
These professionals include psychologists, medication, your local general practitioner, psychiatrists and psychiatric wards. I have been helped by all of them. If you think you need medical help; seek the appropriate people.
“If God be in a (gracious) covenant with a man … he shall never lie under wrath again. God’s mercy shall never be removed from them … (and they) … shall never be thrown into hell .
… have you, the people of God, any just … reason to be cast down, or to be discouraged? … Surely you ought not to be so!” 2 (William Bridge)
1 Sermon by George Whitefield, Satan’s Devices
2 William Bridge, A Lifting Up for the Downcast, The Banner of Truth, p. 71, 73