Depression is a brutal illness that affects us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Many Christians who suffer from depression are particularly distressed by the effect depression has upon the spiritual part of their lives. This may include feelings of guilt and condemnation, an inability to feel God’s presence or love, and an inability to take lasting comfort from reading God’s Word or prayer.
Dr Weekes even mentions this in her book, “Self Help for Your Nerves.” Some nervously sick religious people complain of being unable to contact [connect with] their religion, like the mother who could not contact [connect with] her family. This is an added worry, especially when they find no solace in prayer. When they understand that they feel this way simply because their emotions are exhausted, they are greatly relieved. (1)
One issue that some Christians suffering from depression struggle with is the fear that they have lost their salvation. Some also have obsessive fearful thoughts that they will go to hell. This is what I wrote in my diary on 20th July 1990:
Experiences like the past eight months almost make you wonder,
it makes me wonder if I am one of His children.
WayneThomasBatson, a Christian author of five fantasy/adventure novels, shares:
When I was in the midst of it, I didn't know what was going on. As a matter of fact, off and on for seven years prior to my worst experience, I'd had a series of "heart events." After every single cardio test out there: tilt table, EKG, Halter monitor, stress test, nuclear stress test, etc, nothing heart related came up.
Stress, they told me. Little did I know that all along, it was anxiety attacks.
And what you said about the enemy prowling around and then pouncing on us...that was so true. I remember laying in a hospital bed after the worst racing heart/anxiety attack, I was terrified I was going to hell. I just couldn't get the thought out of my mind. It was like all those stories you hear of old saints on their deathbed, just peacefully passing on, saying something wonderful like, "I'm going to be with my Jesus now." Except for me, there was no comfort at all. I thought it was all over...even in an eternal sense.
Thing is, the word says neither angles nor demons, nor death or life, nor anything else in all creation can separate us from the love of God through Christ.
Christians suffering from depression should not be surprised or worried by such fears, as the suffering and exhaustion caused by depression destroys our worldview - we look at everything through depression-coloured glasses. Everything looks bleak, including our perception of God and the things of His Kingdom.
I have written previously about how important it is to obtain a fresh perspective on the things we fear. Therefore, I share below scriptures we can use to help us see the new perspective regarding the fear that we are no longer one of God’s children. Meditate on these scriptures, write them down, and reflect on them when the fears come flooding in.
Salvation, or eternal life, is a free gift we receive from God when we believe in Jesus. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23.
We need to remind ourselves that when we have repented of our sins and turned to God, God wipes them out of existence. 'Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,' Acts 3:19.
The Bible assures us of our salvation when we believe in Jesus, (which means we trust in, cling to, and rely upon Him), and believe He died on the cross to pay for our sins and rose from the dead three days later. That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 And "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16.
When we believe in Jesus like this, we are born again, this time into God’s family. Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." John 3:3. Yet to all who received him [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. John 1:12-13.
Here is more assurance of our salvation. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:11-13
And as Wayne Thomas Batson shared above, nothing can separate us from Christ’s love. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
Nothing can snatch us from Christ’s almighty hands. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. John 10:27-29
It does not matter if for the time being we cannot feel these truths if we are suffering from depression, what matters is that we believe them and stand on them, reminding ourselves that God is completely trustworthy and His promises and Word cannot be broken.
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock." Matthew 7:24
(1) ‘Self Help for Your Nerves,’ Doctor Claire Weekes, Angus & Robertston Publishers, 1989, p146.